Taniela Petelo is a visual artist and musician, born and raised in Haveluloto, Tongatapu, Tonga.
In 2009, Taniela began training in fine arts under Tevita Latu, a former art teacher at the Atenisi Institute and Tonga International Academy. Along with Tevita, Taniela is the co-founder of Seleka, an artist-run hub for young Tongan artists. Tevita continues to be a mentor and guide not only to Taniela, but to all young Selekarians.
Working across forms, Taniela’s practice is constantly evolving both technically and conceptually in drawing, painting, and sculpture. His two-dimensional work explores an innovative use of mixed media, including pencil, paint, charcoal, and locally sourced clay. His signature style involves a playful use of collage where layers of newspaper form the foundation for his drawings.
Taniela has been exhibiting regularly in Tonga since 2010. His local popularity has resulted in international interest with his work exhibited at Shapiro Auctioneers and Gallery Maketi Ples, Sydney, Australia. In 2016, Taniela was invited to participate in New Zealand’s Waikato University’s artist-in-residence program, which culminated in a group exhibition, Putahi, celebrating the diversity of Polynesian artists.