Siliga David Setoga

Siliga David Setoga

“Driving my five children to and from school gives me time to think up projects,” says artist Siliga David Setoga.

“It’s time to think about how I was brought up in relation to how we are bringing up our kids and reflect upon the contexts of social expectation of each generation and translate those thoughts into art.”

That thinking time has had significant pay off for Siliga. He and his wife Luisa Lefao-Setoga’s performance piece, living museums, transcending spaces, will be showing at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in June 2014. In 2012 he was part of the Home AKL exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery.

As well as producing art projects that incorporate video, installation and performances, Siliga and Luisa run Popohardwear, a T-shirt business that takes logos of well-known brands and twists them to address issues relating to Pacific peoples.

“We developed the business after I completed my BFA at Whitecliffe majoring in Graphic Design,” says Siliga.

He returned to Whitecliffe to do postgraduate study because he wanted to dig more deeply into what he was doing.

“What was important about playing with labels? What was behind this impulse?”

He enjoyed the seminar approach, particularly how critiques, discussions and lectures were backed up with lots of peer discussion.

“Sometimes something that wasn’t understood in a critique could be further discussed over lunch together. Between seminars, at home, we have more secluded private time and I needed that to process what I’d heard and learned.”

Siliga describes the MFA course as challenging and tough, yet supportive.

“It wasn’t demeaning or threatening. I felt safe. I learned to back myself and not try to please others. I feel able to stand by my ideas with confidence. The process helped me to know that my ideas are valid.”

Siliga David Setoga