Samoan artist trades in wood paint and ink...



At one time, Lalovai Peseta was content to be a high school art teacher in American Samoa. Trained as a carver at Samoa’s Leulumoega Fou School of Fine Art, he is now a full-time professional artist moving between his home island of Savaii and the Australian east coast, combining carving, painting and tattooing.

This week he returns to Savaii to set up his own art studio - Manamea Art.

He’s turned tatau into a successful business but given the chance to spruik his talents at last month’s Maketi Ples trade show of Pacific art, he talked about tattooing as if it was some kind of privilege: ‘Some people just give me the opportunity to show my creativity on them.’

While attending the 2012 Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara as a representative of American Samoa, two revelations elevated his ambitions and took his art in new directions. The first was the standard of artworks he saw on display at the regional festival, and the second was a chance meeting with the woman who is now his wife.

And like his art, Lalovai and his wife Nikki are unconventional. Instead of rock and metal, they have each others’ initials inked on their wedding fingers.












































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