On Monday night at the Beachcomber Pearl Market, the 39-year-old spoke about his life journey through a series of his work titled “Kimi Ravenga”. The paintings will be on display at the new Print Room at the Beachcomber Pearl Market until July 27.
Kimi Ravenga which in Cook Islands Maori means “finding a way to make things work”, reflects Rongo’s childhood and the life skills developed as the youngest of nine siblings, growing up in a modest setting where much time outside of school was spent working the land and sea to help feed his large family.
It also encompasses his journey from the lagoons of the Cook Islands to the mines of Western Australia, where he now lives.
“I faced a lot of challenges back in the days with a young family trying to find myself as a person as well as an artist,” Rongo said during the opening of the exhibition.
“My mum, who has passed away, had this favourite saying, which is, ‘If you want to do something, never give up’. That’s the attitude I have with me. If you have a desire to do something, you will find a way to make it work.”
Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman said they were pleased to host Rongo, one of the original artists of the Beachcomber Contemporary Art programme (2001-15), in his first solo presentation in 15 years.
“Kimi Ravenga, the title of this exhibition, reflects the unique outlook of the artist as he approaches new challenges in different environment,” Bergman said.