Sofia Tekela-Smith
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A prayer, a gesture, a fragrance #1
year: 2013
media: gold lipped mother of pearl, fresh water pearl, sterling silver, waxed thread, tin, glass beads, balsa, fibreglass, resin, enamel in old NZ Kauri tin

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Exhibitions by Sofia Tekela-Smith
lonnie hutchinson & sofia tekela-smith
good grief
25 september - 19 october 2013

sofia tekela-smith, lisa walker, areta wilkinson
31 january - 25 february 2012

Sofia Tekela-Smith is part of a small but increasing number of New Zealand-based Pacific Island artists working in the medium of body adornment. She has exhibited in leading galleries throughout New Zealand and internationally. Tekela-Smith's artistic practice is directly informed by her knowledge of Pacific aesthetics and this is manifest in form, style, materials and process.

Tekela-Smith considers her artwork to be an extension of self. She traces her artistic gestation back to her childhood on Rotuma, where she acquired many of her art-making skills through her observations of older female relatives. Since this time she has continued to develop her art-making techniques, mainly through experimentation. She consistently employs natural materials that enable her to achieve visual continuity with art forms from the Pacific. These include mother of pearl shell, diridamu seeds, cultured pearls, coconut shell, cowrie shell and pounamu.

Since 2003, she has looked to other mediums such as sculpture and photography as a way of presenting her adornments. Tiny Clouds Small Mountains 1 speaks to her Rotuman and Scottish heritage to evoke the archaeological with fragments of large breast plates found preserved in indeterminate landscapes, bound in mirror frames both reflecting the viewer and integrating them in the work and suggesting jewellery boxes or found treasure.

Sofia Tekela-Smith's work has been included in numerous exhibitions including: Paradise Now? at the Asia Contemporary Society Museum, New York, 2004 and the International Festival of the Arts in Belau, 2004. Her works are also held at Auckland Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, and Grassi Museum, Leipzig, Germany.