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Ben Academy; Beautiful Expressions of Nature (photo gallery)
WSAMOA reporters

Searching the Apia market and other souvenirs shops for some ancient Samoan art-products we were not totally satisfied. Of course the market offers you a range of art products like; tapa cloths, wooden products etc. but we were more looking for something huge and impressive.

Sometimes you see in some hotels or restaurants wooden carvings and other artistically-minded designs. With this idea in the back of our heads we try to ask and gain some information were we could take a look.

Most people referred us to the Ben Academy. We were curious and drove to the Ben Academy where this school of arts is situated. First of all; the Ben academy is a school, studio and gallery and to bring the art of Samoa to a higher level. Back to the old days missionary forbid all sorts of arts including tattoos. That’s why the art-side of Samoa needs a great boost.

The Ben Academy provides for young Samoan people who are technically skilled an education and an income. They can go to the academy for a couple of years to understand the whole process of making arts on the Samoan way. Besides that they will have an accommodation and stay on the terrain for a period. In this way these people will have a good goal in live.

In the years the academy is functional, Ben; the founder director & studio artist, Penehuro Papalii saw some great talents and artist in his school who are now teaching at the academy or who are running some business on their own. Ben, the director of the academy studied in Italy arts and in NZ before set up his teaching in Samoa.

The campus is really great and huge. Trucks are able to drive into the campus with trees/stones for further inspection. Sometimes the Ben academy gets a call from the government which is about a tree that they found with a remarkable size.

Even people from other Islands and other parts of the world are visiting the academy and were suprised about the course/academy that was founded in Apia. As far as we thought the campus will be extended with a museum and a artist meeting-point.

If there is a museum or if you are curious about the Samoa arts nowadays please contact Mr. Penehuro Papalii, the director and studio artist.

Contact details: P.O. Box 2851 APIA, Samoa
tel: (685) 24 780

>> Click here to visit the website of the Ben Academy
Call for entries to Contemporary Pacific Art Award

Date: 6 September 2005

Call for entries to Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award

The Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award, in partnership with the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand, is calling for entries from contemporary New Zealand and Pacific Island artists whose work reflects a Pacific influence.

The recipient of the Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award will receive a travel grant of $5000, supporting the artist to develop, investigate and research a project.
The closing date for applications is Friday 21 October.

The award is open to artists working in the following categories: photography, tapa/textiles, installation, multi-media, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery, painting, weaving and carving. Applicants must be artists based either in New Zealand or the following Island nations: Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu.

Martin Hughes Architecture Interiors, based in Auckland, established the award in 2000 and previous winners are Andy Leleisi’uao, Niki Hastings-McFall, Sheyne Tuffery, Ross T. Smith and Tui Hobson. This is the first year of the company’s partnership with the Pacific Arts Committee.

Chair Marilyn Kohlhase says the new partnership is an example of the way the Committee works with other groups and organisations to enhance resources to Pacific arts.

“This year, the award has been extended to include Pacific artists based in their home nations,” she says. “It’s an exciting development that will strengthen relationships between New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours. It’s also an opportunity for artists to travel and work with institutions or other artists to research a project and develop their careers.”

Auckland carver Tui Hobson, who won last year’s Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award, travelled to the Cook Islands and Samoa. “It was a fantastic professional development opportunity and did heaps for my confidence,” she says. “I met with Cook Islands artists, researched my family connections and got media exposure. The experience has had a lasting impact on my work.”

For criteria, application requirements and an application form visit the resources section of Creative New Zealand’s website ( You can also contact Anton Carter, Creative New Zealand (Tel: 04-498 0729 Email: or Angela Griffin (Mobile: 0275 780 889 Email:


Airport Arts

Airport arts

Airport arts

Airport arts