Samantha Tagaloa

I am a Samoan-American multimedia artist. In Samoan culture, the Vā refers to a liminal space marked by ambiguity and transformation. It is a dynamic force, the space between two objects, the space between two points in time, and the space that gives meaning. The Samoan pantheon is replete with strong female goddesses whose divinity and strength allow them to shift through the Vā when it suits them. The study of the Vā has led me to question my ancestral past, Western contact and colonization, and the post-colonial present.

Both Samoan women and men wear tatau, or tattoo, whose motifs constitute one’s lineage, status, sexuality and individualism. I build tattoo-like stamps and stencils, employing them into abstract autobiographical drawings, paintings and weavings. Once complete, the works are cut are often cut, woven together and/or sculpted. The deconstruction and recreation of these works allow me to explore and understand how my culture has mutated through assimilation and my own interpretation. Drumming connects me to the Vā, where time and space is non-linear. I am seen and I will be heard.

Music and art making are the vehicles I use to explore how my identity permeates the binaries of western individualism and the moral mandate of my culture. My non-traditional painting practices allow me to create works that subvert, revitalize and reinvent my family’s history.

What I experience in the physical world directly influences how I react to my questions, emotions, life and awareness. My work is not about a final product, rather the process that helps me understand the human condition.



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Contact Information

Samantha Tagaloa
(714) 614-4041

Artist Links



Artist Work

Jaune (2017)
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 60 x 72 inches

The Vā (2019)
These weavings are made of large, abstract paintings.The deconstruction and weaving of these works allow me to explore and understand how my Samoan culture has mutated through assimilation and my own interpretation

Cube (2019)
This is a welded steel cube that measures 67 x 67 x 67 inches (my height). Large paintings were ripped and sewn onto the cube. By suspending and displaying the cube outside, I am challenging the ways paintings are traditionally hung.

Cube Installation

Measures 67 x 67 inches. Large paintings were cut into strips and sewn onto this welded cube. By suspending it outdoors, I am challenging the 4 walls of a gallery space or "white cube."

Tagaloa (2016)
"TAGALOA" explores the balance between intuition and reason through music and cultural identity. Charcoal on Paper, 7'x7'

Link to Tagaloa

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Uploaded by None on 2018-02-09.