Aukia / Waiting

September 9 - October 7, 2022

installation view - front gallery

installation view - front gallery

installation view - front gallery

 installation view - front gallery

installation view leading to back gallery

 installation view - back gallery

 installation view - back gallery

 installation view leading to the front gallery

This show speaks to John Pule’s established stature as a Pasifika storyteller of generous spirit. Pule works in mixed media. On large canvases with oil stick and paint, he facilitates a communing with Pacific flora and Pasifika journeying; on thick paper stock he applies ink and oil stick to let notes, moments, and flashes of feeling from his life expand through the geometric structures of hiapo (Niuean tapa). In Aukia / Waiting, both processes are strikingly presented, where the lush dignity of the four large paintings sit comfortably beside the lively, expressive mark-making of the works on paper.

Pule wrote before he painted, and has spoken of writing to decolonise. In his paper works, the ink in hand seems familiar, and the motif of netted veils is pulled back occasionally to reveal glimpses of the poet in the painter. The sharp points of the repeating rectangular and triangular forms, echoing those of hiapo, often cease before a border, to let Pule’s tenderness break through. Inscriptions like “many times at night I sit up and watch you sleep”, “who will trust you in your world if not you”, and "a bird is saying that the sun will rise tomorrow" feel like warm waves breaking on a volcanic shore. 

These emotive glimpses reverberate in the vivacity of his paintings. They are sumptuous. Full pockets of paint gathering with their weight sit still drying on the canvas, pools of different greens and the application of paint to create patterned flora lean into fluidity. Pule’s pattern-making generates depth through density that is punctuated by the blue forms of coastal figures, who are as fluid as the bodies of water they sit beside.

Meg Doughty


Paintings on canvas

Anoiha (we will return in the future)

Feleveiaaga (meeting place)

Aukia (waiting / wait for me)

Ka fai magaaho (if you have time...)


Works on paper 

Mati, Liku A bird is saying that the sun will rise tomorrow


Uka e Vaha, Kavaka Fakakite Mai Tau Moui Ha Mautolu


Oma Miti Amanaki Aukia Tukumuitea oma, Tamaki Makaurau


Nava Mo e Fakaheke Mati, Kavaka


Maua, Suva Fiji Tufuga, Liku


Manako, Suva Fiji  



Jonathan and Meg hanging the works on paper

Jonathan and Meg installing the painting Feleveiaaga (meeting place)



Details of works