Raymond Sagapolutele

 

Raymond Sagapolutele is an Aotearoa-born Samoan artist with family ties to the villages of Fatuvalu in Savai’i and Saluafata in Upolu, Samoa. He picked up the camera in 2003 and began a self- taught photography journey that would see him work with editorial publications Back to Basics and Rip It Up as a staff photog- rapher as well as submissions to the NZ Herald and Metro Magazine. Sagapolutele completed his Masters in Visual Arts in 2019, with first- class honours and received the Deans Award for Excellence in Postgraduate study from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). 

Raymond was a finalist in the 2019 and 2020 Wallace Arts Award and a finalist in the 2019 Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards. He honed his style of documentary street photography as one of several photographers in the locally formed and internationally connected graffiti creative collective known as The Most Dedi- cated (TMD). Sagapolutele is also a founding member of the ManaRewa art collective based at Nathan Homestead in Manurewa and along- side senior members helps to tutor and support the local arts community. 

For the artist, the camera has become a vital part of his ability to explore his heritage as a diasporic Samoan with cultural ties that link him to the history of the Pacific and the land within that vast ocean. The camera is how his visual language is given a voice, the method that forms his oratory and connects to the Samoan tradition of Fagogo (storytelling).

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