Sam Thomas, who graduated from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts two years ago, has been in the Cooks since November with his partner Pouarii Tanner, a Cook Islander who he met at an art show in Auckland.
A star of the exhibition is a vaka that Thomas created at the suggestion of master carver Mike Tavioni, who Thomas met after he arrived on Rarotonga.
It took Thomas around six weeks to make the canoe, working on it about every second day.
“It’s more or less in the traditional style, but I wanted to add a few twists and add a few modern aspects.”
In Auckland, Thomas is a painter and sculpter who previously ran an art gallery on High Street called the Snake Pitt – which closed prior to his trip to Rarotonga.
He said the closing of the gallery came at a good time.
“(Running the gallery) meant I couldn’t spend much time on my own art – it was good to no longer have that commitment.”
Thomas’ work is influenced by his previous travels to India and Mexico.
“While travelling I learned techniques that I use in my art now. And while in the Cook Islands I’ve learned techniques that I’m sure I’ll use in the future.”
The exhibition will include pieces made with volcanic coral from Muri beach.
Thomas said his specialty is “interactive art”.
“I prefer pieces people can have a connection with, such as a kinetic connection,” he said.
Thomas is currently putting the finishing touches on his pieces in time for the exhibition opening on June 11 at BCA Gallery from 6pm. All are welcome to attend.
The exhibition will run from June 11 to 29 at BCA Gallery.