Tuesday, November 20, 2007


RENOWNED Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti once said the object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity. And that is how Sofaia Tagilala views art.

Sofaia always had a liking for art. At primary school she would always try and make something out of the little coloured crayons she had. She would draw stick figures and flowers like other students.

Little did she realise that one day she would be among local artists showcasing their work to prominent people in society. Today, this budding artist who hails from Galoa Village in Kadavu is making a name for herself at the Ratu Iloilovatu Gallery at the Arts Culture and Design School at Raiwai.

She had always wanted to be in the teaching profession but since she enrolled at the school she has never regretted making a change. Now at the age of 20, Tagilalas works of art has marveled a lot of people especially locally renowned artists.

Sofa as her friends call her was in her art room at the school busy painting, completing an incredible piece she has managed to put together in less than a week. Now a third year student at the Art School, Sofa says furthering her interest in art was something that never occurred to her until she joined the school.

Although I love drawing and colouring, it never occurred to me that one day I would actually join a school that would be able to build up my confidence in painting, Sofa said. I was educated at Rampur Primary School in Navua and later joined Rampur College for my secondary education. Although we had art and craft classes in school it never used to be a subject that was seriously taken by the teachers and students, she said.

Since I enrolled at the School of Arts, Culture and Design in 2005, I have come to appreciate what art is all about, she said. Sofa said art is not just about putting colours together to make drawings look good, but it is a way of expressing feelings, moods and views on a particular subject.

Like many of her friends at the school, they each have subjects they love to use as models for painting. My favourite subject is to paint flowers, she said. She said flowers were always the main subject of her artwork because of its complexities in shape and colours.

Flowers are unique and it is the simplest description of the beauty of nature, she said. Flowers are more realistic when we paint them and of cause they are loved by all, she said. Sofa who collected the emerging artist award during last years National Art Exhibition Awards said painting any subject directly related to nature always had an impact on those who love and are conscious of their natural surroundings.

In this years display, Sofa is proudly showcasing a painting of a bird of paradise flower that has colours of orange, purple, yellow and red against a black backdrop. On her wall she has paintings of gladiolas, tulips, orchids and other local flowers.

Sofa loves using pastels in her paintings because she finds it easy to blend the colours. Im glad that at school Im able to develop the little art instinct that I had with me and now it has started to blossom, she said. Sofa said it was an honour to have her art work showcased among those of other students at the gallery.

Sofa said while art may be seen by some people as mere drawings, there are important messages and themes that are behind every art work. I would like to tell the general public to appreciate art as a way of artists expressing their thoughts and ideas about a particular issue or subject, she said. She said most young people prefer to put their thoughts in art forms rather than speaking out publicly.

Sofa hopes to become a teacher one day and spread the fun of having art as a lesson in schools. I believe there is a lot of artistic talent out there that just needs the right tapping, she said.

Sofa encourages young artists in the country to make the most of their talents as it is now becoming an income earning industry in the country.

Adapted from the Fijitimes.com November 20th, 2007