Lakiloko Keakea’s fafetu are kaleidoscopic – mesmerising, brightly-lit, and filled with an array of extraordinary patterns. While Lakiloko takes a six or seven pointed star as her frame again and again, no two pieces are identical – their interiors are each intricately singular and individual.
Fafetu is the first major solo exhibition of Lakiloko’s work, featuring pieces produced within the last two years, building on a practice of over five decades.
Lakiloko’s fafetu mix a boldness of colour with a delicacy of action – crafted using a number of distinct weaving and crochet techniques, including tio: a type of kolose (Tuvalu crochet) and lalanga (weaving with a needle). Her fafetu embody the Tuvalu approach to living; infused with repeating actions, popping colours and an undeniable vibrancy. The work holds the same bright spirit of celebration that is seen in kolose and fatele (Tuvalu dancing accompanied by song), with all rhythms leading back towards a place of culture.
Lakiloko’s fafetu are woven with an intuitive approach; emerging unplanned, without patterns, allowing colour combinations to form as the threads unspool. Her wild palette demonstrates the Tuvalu delight in vibrant colour – seen also in kolose, and Tuvalu celebratory garments. On the atolls, many of these colours are created using plant-based dyes on fibre. An expansion in material options came with Lakiloko’s move to Aotearoa in 1996, providing a greater range of bright, synthetic materials to weave alongside their natural counterparts.
The works featured in Fafetu have been created using a mix of manufactured and natural materials including wool, synthetic ribbon, cloth ribbon, and plastic cargo ties. The largest piece commissioned for the exhibition (Lakiloko’s biggest fafetu to date) has been woven for the first time on a steel frame fabricated specifically for Fafetu – expanding Lakiloko’s work to a previously untested scale.
Lakiloko is a prolific maker – in her endless rhythm of knotting and weaving, her practice is making as living – an entwining of threads with daily tasks. She continues to work at her house in Ranui, surrounded by the comings and goings of friends and relatives – her mesmerising objects emerging from the most domestic and well-known of environments – their production an integrated part of the flow of home and family.
Date(s) - 30/09/2018 - 11/11/2018