Carver’s master plan for Atupa art gallery

Monday November 05, 2018 Written by Published in Culture
Mike Tavioni in his gallery at Atupa. 18103107 Mike Tavioni in his gallery at Atupa. 18103107

Master carver and artist Mike Tavioni has a long-term plan for his gallery – to make those who create fine works the main attractions in it.


They will have their own spaces within it, show their artworks and even sell them from their areas.

“Artists here need to be the attraction,” he says, “and they need to benefit from their efforts.”

Tavioni says local artists do not get enough exposure.

“Maybe they feel their art is not good enough … but they shouldn’t judge, the public should judge.

“If they do things from the heart, people appreciate it.”

He says the gallery will be part of a larger complex that will include a teaching area for people to learn how to carve.

“Out the back will be for the dirty work – grinding, sawing and using chainsaws.

“Out the front here will be for artists to work.”

He is envisaging people making tivaivai, weaving, drawing, painting or tattooing.

Tavioni knows his dream is in the future because his gallery is still a work in progress.

“It’s a rough gallery, but in the future it will look better. It will be painted, with tiles on the floor …”

He is very confident about the project, but its progress depends upon him getting the money to realise the dream.

He is unsure about charging for entry, or asking for donations, but he is determined it will succeed.

“I’m very confident about the project. It has taken a while to get here,” he laughs, “but it is only a metre to the finish! I can see it.”      

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