This Is Samoan Art sounds like it might present some kind of artistic travelogue, or fill in the blanks with an encyclopedic overview of the aesthetic of an entire island nation. The work of Samoan artist Chuck Feesago, currently based in Los Angeles, plays with all the tropes of what we think of as exotic, primitive, tribal and ritualistic—all while staying completely contemporary, even progressive, in approach.
Deceptive in their apparent simplicity, these mixed-media works—constructed of squares woven out of string, acrylic and paper or from round coffee filters on paper mounted on wood—suggest themselves as cultural artifacts (“#379” is pictured). As such, they comment on the twin conceits of authenticity and innocence, the way we have conceptualized other cultures. Yet without claiming to represent the culture, Feesago has remained reverent of Samoan traditions.
Rather than a fixed vision of what is Samoan (even from the distance of California), his work is a hybrid of cultures and materials which adds to the dialogue, and moreover, contemplation of the site. As the title states, it is one Samoan practicing art, in a manner very honest, intuitive and authentic to himself. This stuff is very much about process—the artistic process, yes, but more importantly, the process that goes on inside the viewer when we see it.