Samoa makes its splash at Orlando's Immersed Aquatic Art Show

Photo Credit: 
Facebook/ETU ART
The work of Patrick Etuale Ah Wong, the artist named ETU.

(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Find Samoan and Pacific art by ETU ART among the galleria, alongside Puerto Rico's Mario José Artcadia Panet at City Arts Factory in downtown Orlando for the 4th Annual Immersed Aquatic Art Show, an exhibit that receives 20,000 guests within its one-month duration.

It's a major step for ETU Art — their first art show.

"Ok, I've finally went and done it," said Orlando-based Samoan artist Patrick Etuale Ah Wong on his Facebook page. "Thanks to a persuasive and awesome artist and friend Tania Landers, and of course my heart and inspiration, my family. We skipped the festivals and are having our first art showing."

The Samoa-born ETU, whose mother is from Iva, Savai'i, and father is from Tafiotala, Safata, joins a group of 40 artists and aquascapers for Immersed, an aquatic-themed show that displays a myriad of mediums to include paintings, sculptures and an aquarium gallery.

"I am of Samoan ancestry and love to share my culture through my art — mixing ancient designs with anything I can fuse it with," ETU explains. The father of one girl, Fimalie, and one boy, Alafia, is married to Celestina Miriama Achica Ah Wong. They are Team ETU.

Speaking to tautalatala from Waipahu, Hawai'i, Kealoha Ah Wong says his older brother began drawing from a young age. A portrait of their sister Mary was selected for an art showcase at Pearlridge Shopping Center when ETU was a student at Waipahu Intermediate School.

ETU won art awards while a student at Waipahu High School, his work showcased at Satellite City Hall in Waipahu. Kealoha describes his brother's art as "simple," expressing "deep thought."

"This and Polynesian art have shaped and moulded him to create his unique style," said Kealoha. "It's truly amazing how his style has evolved to include tattooing."

"I didn't really persuade him to do this show, I just shared with him about what I was doing as a new artist," Tania Sanft Landers told tautalatala.com from Hennepin, Okla. "Patrick is so gifted...I shared what I've been doing by networking with other artists and art groups. Learning about the business side of being an artist."

Auckland, New Zealand native Landers, who is of Tongan and Maori descent, said "Polynesians have a tendency to give our art away because that's our culture — to share and give. But it can diminish your value."

Landers is married to a Samoan. She and Patrick met in Florida when they worked together at Disney.

"I paint. I prefer abstract art because I like the brush and the colors determine what picture will unfold. It's a very organic approach and I select colors based on what I'm feeling at the moment," Landers said. "I want to incorporate more Polynesian designs and influences in my art because I love it...that's why I love Patrick's work. I don't have that gift. Wish I did but talents are different."

Featured Lead Artist is Artcadia, Art Professor from Puerto Rico. On Facebook he calls it a privilege to be given the lead and invites all his "children" to the show.

Exhibitors represent a number of Florida towns: Cocoa, Longwood, Davenport, Harmony, Winter Park, Palm Bay, Ocoee, Rockledge, Lake Mary, Maitland, Apopka, Titusville, Altamonte, Gotha, Celebration and Kissimee. Riverside, Calif. is represented by Poseidon Construction and Houston, Texas has a representative in Red Sea, a state-of-the-art aquarium manufacturer.

"Seeing Pat post his stuff on Facebook gave me the courage to post my stuff too," Landers said. "Then people started asking about my work then I started showing too."

ETU says: "All I can say is when I get inspired I don't ask, I just jump, oh well."

Show presenters Central Florida Aquarium Society invites all "to meet the art and aquarium exhibitors, mingle with show patrons and the who's who of Orlando" at the reception 6 p.m. Thursday night Nov. 16. Immersed closes Dec. 15.

Learn more at www.immersedshow.com.