Andy Leleisi’uao is one of the most significant Pacific artists working in New Zealand today. His paintings are rich in personalised mythology and tell an open-ended story. Early work was influenced by comic strips and visual narrative has remained an important aspect to Leleisi’uao’s practice. His unique iconography is fantastical and imaginative. He often incorporates puzzle pieces, crosswords and Rubik’s cubes, giving the impression that his figures are attempting to make sense of things. His work frequently references social problems and cultural complexity. “Andy’s prescient talent for seeing who we are, what we are like and what we do is a signature of his art.” (Ron Brownson 2009)
Born in 1969, Andy Leleisi’uao grew up in Mangere, South Auckland. He was awarded a scholarship to attend AUT and received a Master of Fine Arts with honours in 2002. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand and has been involved in solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Rarotonga, Germany, Taiwan, and the USA. Leleisi’uao was awarded residencies at the Casula Powerhouse in Sydney and the MacMillian Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury in the late 1990s. In 2009 he received the Asia NZ Foundation/Taipei Artist Village residency, and the McCahon House residency in Titirangi, 2010. Most recently, Leleisi’uao was the paramount winner of the 2017 Wallace Art Award receiving a 6 month residency in New York.
Andy Leleisi’uao’s work is included in the permanent collections of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Pataka Museum and Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, the Chartwell Collection, the Wallace Arts Trust collection, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney and the Museum of Ethnography, Frankfurt, Germany.