Contemporary South Pacific art by Ilaisa Latu

About the artist

My formative years were in the idyllic and most ancient island of Tonga- Eua. Due to my physical deformity ( I have 5 completely developed fingers – 3 on my left and 2 on my right hand), I was rejected at a very early age by most. I ended up being the butt of many a village joke as well as pity and disgust looks; and this made me draw into a shell.

I found my solace from a very early age in art; and in between helping my father on the farm, I would find myself drawing on whatever was available. Tapa (bark of the mulberry tree), woven mats (made from Pandanus leaves), tattooing , scraps of paper… everything would take on the form of a drawing board.

It was only at the age of 26, that I got a scholarship and spent a year at the School of Arts in Kona, Hawaii. That one year was instrumental in honing my inherent gifting as an artiste and also in widening my global perspective, though the language was a big challenge. I found my help in GOD who gave me grace to complete my school.

Since the age of 23, my desire was to imbibe the confluence of cultures that are in India, and this was fulfilled in 2005, when I finally made it here. I currently reside in Mumbai a with my loving Indian Hoa (wife in Tongan)  Shubhra.

My vision and dream is to use the gifting I have been blessed with to communicate HIS love to the hurting and the rejected. I myself grew up with a lot of hurt and rejection due to my deformity. It is only love – the love of my late mother and the unconditional love of GOD that gave me the support and encouragement I needed.

The one thing that I have learnt is that the love of GOD conquers all. Walk through the impossible to reach the possible with HIM .

I can also be commissioned to work on specific artworks/ designs/ murals/ logos.

Thankyou for taking time out to read this and GOD bless!

You can email me at :

2 thoughts on “About the artist

  1. You have a beautiful site! I love seeing your paintings and photos and reading your poems. Great job! Keep posting. I still remember hearing you singing through the corridors of the guest house. It sounded like an angel! Blessings to you brother.

  2. Hello Ilaisa! I wonder if you and your dear wife would remember me? While reading about you here, it brought back memories of the time you both visited me here at my home, in Gurgaon. What a lovely fellowship evening we had:) ..I pray, now after, so many years, you & your wife have moved on in God’s Amazing Love & Grace? I wish you well. My blessings,
    Norma Paiva

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