Family and Influences
Rusiate comes from a distinguished artistic lineage. His grandmother Taraivini Wati was a renown Raku potter and one of the leading potters in Fiji, as well as being a university lecturer. Her work is featured on the saqamoli (Fijian one dollar coin) and a special edition postage stamp. One of her pieces is in the collection of the Canberra School of Art where she was invited in 1998 to give a workshop on traditional pottery making. His sister Ana Lavekau is the CEO and Founder at the London Pacific Fashion Ltd as well as a well known choreographer.
Rusiate was brought up by his grandmother and under her close tutelage was introduced to appreciating art at a very early age.
Pottery by Taravini Wati
Rusiate states his influences are many in the modernist tradition, ranging form Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Basquait and Picasso. His regard for these Masters reinforces a need to look at his ancestral roots and like Picasso he dips deep into the well to draw the totemic icons and patterns of his family. He indulges his pleasure in line, pattern and colour to reinforce his personal mythic stories. He also utilises the tool of erasure and scrapes back into the highly textured surfaces to reveal underlying structures and stories.
As a child he loved to draw and found it fascinating. He says: “At school I copied every diagram and was often asked by teachers to copy images for them onto the blackboard. In my spare time I loved to draw the fine detailing of insects, trees, leaves and found it easy to draw landscape.” His love of reading brought him into contact with European artists and he was particularly attracted to those who were themselves inspired by the strength of tribal art. It is not surprising that Picasso’s Cubism and vibrant palette, and Miro’s surreal linear explorations were of great interest to him. Like the tribal tradition on which he naturally draws, with its love of minimalist planes, bright colours, forceful expression and reference to the world of dream, these artists work confirmed for him a direction that was in fact part of his own artistic tradition.
He comments:” I admired Picasso’s colour combinations and the way he cut up the image… Miro’s work reminds me of what I like to do…create a world beyond the present.. with subtle things that may appear in dreams…” He says: “ I like the idea of being able to create something that lives outside the present, where I can fly like Peter Pan….be free and do what I like.”
Australian artists of interest to Rusiate include David Larwill who he admires for the “expressive use of thick pigment and the geometric”. He also loves the monumental scale of Annette Bezor’s women. “They are just amazing, you can almost smell them. These powerful images of women with large breasts and naked bodies make me feel very small and vulnerable.” Rusiate also likes the work of Aboriginal artist Dorothy Napangardi, whose work he finds very contemporary despite its tribal inspiration. He says:” She takes you away from traditional work using a flow of dotted lines that have a great human quality. They are wonderful because they are not precise and wander all over the picture.”
01 January 2018 - 31 December 2019
We are excited to be planning our series of online exhibitions over the next 12 months… after the thought provoking “Climate Change in The Pacific” by Fiji’s leading multi-media artist Rusiate Lali, other exhibitions in the pipeline cover a varied range of topics that include some of our key…
Artworks for sale
Looking to purchase works by this artist but can’t see what you’re looking for? We can source artworks from them for you.