Winners of the Exponent Art Scholarship: deTiare Leifi
Last year, Exponent started an annual art scholarship for Mormon women of color. The goal of the scholarship continues to be to amplify the voices of LDS women artists of color by lending needed support for them to be able to continue to develop their art.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the work and words of some of the recipients of that scholarship. These extraordinary women have the ability to seismically change the artistic language of the Church: imagine Come Follow Me manuals, Church members’ homes or Church building hallways full of their work. We’re grateful that they shared it with this community and look forward to announcing this year’s scholarship very soon. If you’d like to contribute to the fund for this year’s scholarship, please contact exponentiieditor AT gmail DOT com.
deTiare Leifi: A lot of my work is inspired by my Polynesian culture and upbringing. I am still a novice and I feel that I am still trying to find my aesthetic and artistic voice. At first I began with basic embroidering as you will see with me Sei Series and Tatau Embroidery. Now, I am working at incorporating new fibers and materials like yarn, cotton string, beads and shells. I love to experiment with new techniques, styles, and materials. I feel that my biggest struggle right now is finding my aesthetic within fiber arts. I know I want to continue with embroidery components but I want to carve out my own lane. I want people to know that the work is mine just by looking at it.
Tatau is extremely important in the Samoan culture as it traditionally symbolizes distinguished persons and people. Did you know that the word ‘Tattoo’ originates from the word ‘Tatau’? The first Tatau Embroidery piece I ever created was of a friends Tualima (hand tattoo). After that I designed others with different forms, hand gestures, and motifs.