So’omuta Village is from the large painting series titled The Ufological Island of Samoa. ‘Ufological’ is an invented term combining the words UFO and mythology. Andy Leleisi’uao imagines inhabitans living in playful utopian villages – So’omuta, Vapula and Esula. The population interacts with kiwi the size of moa, which can be ridden like horses. He paints tattooed totems at the scale of moai, the giant ancestor figures from Rapanui, or Easter Island. Koru-shaped trees replace coconut palms as the islands’ indigenous flora.
Everything in this fantasy play-world exists in a mythic time referencing the past. The villagers’ lives are filled with games and toys. By imagining islands that meld past with future, Leleisi’uao upholds the Samoan tradition of storytelling, and delights in inventing a mythic Pasifika unique to Aotearoa.