Interpretations of a Samoan dance between generations – an artistic homage

“For me this project is the completion of a circle that started with my mother and her Siva Samoa, it will end with my sister paying homage to my mother and our heritage with her evolution of our mother's practice in Ufitia’s contemporary Samoan Siva”
(Raymond Sagapolute, 2019).


The current exhibition GREY IS THE NEW PINK displays photographic works from the year 2012 by the Auckland, New Zealand born, Samoan artist Raymond Sagapolutele. His works “Siva Samoa” and “Poly Swag” capture his mother and sister performing a traditional Samoan dance – the Siva Samoa. The works highlight the respective interpretation of the dance that mother and sister partake in, especially in regards to the interpretation within the nuclear family. The artistic works reflect the differences between the traditional Samoan dance and the contemporary urban dance culture of Samoans in the context of New Zealand migration. While Sagapolutele’s mother presents the traditional dance, his sister Ufitia leans on hip hop and introduces modern elements into her dance performance. The pictures document the passing of knowledge within a family; however, they also credit one’s own freedom of interpretation in newer generations.

Above all, the photographic works claim a stronger, more personal meaning for the artist and his family as his mother passed away only three months after the completion of “Siva Samoa”. Thus, the works are also to be understood as rendering homage to his mother.


On the occasion of the exhibition GREY IS THE NEW PINK coming to an end and the annual Museum Embarkment Festival, Raymond Sagapolutele and his sister Ufitia will return to the Welkulturen Museum in Frankfurt to posthumously honor their mother in a ceremonial dance performance and ultimately, ritually articulate a farewell to the exhibition. After her master’s thesis in Performing Arts in 2018, Ufitia has intensely studied traditional variations of Samoan dance and herself performed choreographies of her works in various Pacific dance and culture festivals in New Zealand and on tours in Asia.

For the ceremonial homage and to pay her respects to her late mother, Ufitia has choreographed a contemporary take on the traditional Siva Samoa, which she’ll be performing with the support of two dancers in the exhibition rooms of the Weltkulturen Museum.

This performance intends to combine the mother’s traditional dance with the contemporary twist of the daughter to purpose homage to the late mother. The joint cultural heritage thus is picked up by the children and further developed artistically. In regards to his sister’s dance performance “Tofa Si O’u Tina – Farewell to my Mother”, the brother’s photographs become performance art. 

Furthermore, in line with the Museumsuferfest, Ufitia will be hosting a workshop regarding the tradition and contemporary variations of Samoan dance. Raymond Sagapolutele himself, along with the curator Matthias Claudius Hofmann, will give a guided tour in the exhibition.

The process and execution of the artist’s project will be recorded by film director Jerry Tauamiti and his cameraman and assistant Samson Rambo to result in a documentary.


RAYMOND SAGAPOLUTELE, Samoan artist and photographer born in New Zealand. Member of the graffiti collective TMD. He lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.

UFITIA 'TIA' SAGAPOLUTELE, dancer, choreographer, and producer with a hip hop background. She’s currently a project coordinator for Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ).

LYNCIA MULLER, dancer with a strong background in traditional Pacific dance, hip hop, and contemporary dance.

NATALIA IOANE, dancer with a background in traditional Samoan dance, such as Siva Samoa, Taualuga, and Sasa.

JERRY TAUAMITI, Auckland based, freelance film and TV director. Co-founder of Malosi Pictures.

SAMSON RAMBO, camera man.

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