samoa (born 1980)

First XV is the result of travel to Italy and France to photograph New Zealand Samoans living and playing professional rugby in Europe. I look at my subjectís interiors, learnt about their immersion into the French and Italian cultures. I participated in adopted dining customs and shared their appreciation of new tastes.
In me, and my family, they saw elements of home. In my subjects I saw opportunity as my parents described New Zealand of the 1960s.

Edith Amituanai
  Monsieur Murphy Pavihi Taele 2006
  from the First XV series
c-type photograph
collection of the artist
courtesy of Anna Miles Gallery


The artistís First XV series looks at sportsmen who have temporarily migrated from the Pacific to live in both France and Italy, where they now work as professional rugby players.
Pacific men and women are among the worldís naturally brilliant and talented sports people; and many have established international sporting careers in numerous countries. These portraits celebrate the everyday lives of men who have an exceptional sporting ability.
  Murphy de Lattes 2006
  from the First XV series
c-type photograph
collection of the artist
courtesy of Anna Miles Gallery


The works in the First XV series result from a travelling grant provided by Creative New Zealand for the purposes of the artistís travel to France and Italy. Projects such as this almost always require public support, as they involve international travel and transport of equipment. By undertaking this series, Amituanai is promoting an awareness of how extensively the Samoan people travel the world.
  Signor e Signora Tiatia 2006
  from the First XV series
c-type photograph
collection of the artist
courtesy of Anna Miles Gallery


Travelling to other countries to undertake a sporting career frequently involves the shifting of families. Here, a married couple are shown as Samoan Italians, albeit on a temporary basis. Edith Amituanaiís fascination with making an ongoing portrait of her extended Samoan family is one of the most interesting projects occurring in contemporary Pacific photography.
  Monsieur Philemon Toleafoa 2006
  from the First XV series
c-type photograph
collection of the artist
courtesy of Anna Miles Gallery


While Edith Amituanaiís images may appear to be relaxed, unfussy, family photographs, they are also very carefully prepared for and visually planned.
The combination of three languages within the manís name gently signals what is already immediately apparent; here is a recent portrait that has been made in France of a Samoan sportsman who has travelled from New Zealand in order to begin an international career in sport.