In 2008 Ahota'e'iloa graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Manukau School of Visual Arts. During his final year of the degree programme he was selected for placement as part of an internship project at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. Ahota'e'iloa completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Secondary School Teaching in 2010 from the University of Auckland and currently holds a position as a senior art teacher at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate.
As a painter Ahota'e'iloa explores his own familial narratives alongside art and design influences that are central to Tongan
The day that never came was Ahota'e'iloa’s first solo exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre - Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, and was inspired by a poem which his late grandmother Seini Lo’amanu wrote as a lament to her daughter, Ahota'e'iloa’s mother. Verses of the poem were included in the exhibition to provide an insight into the bond between the visual mysteries of the work, the hidden meanings implied in the text, and as a prompt for any given viewer to create their own narrative while engaging with the installation/paintings. In the painting Po’uli, Ahota'e'iloa considers a multiplicity of meaning, to describe in visual terms narratives specific to influences, heritage, and life.
The black background represents Tonga’s history in a positive and negative sense, and also represents the ngatu ‘uli which is worn at the times of bereavement. A central red cross, alludes to the red cross on the Tongan flag, and also represents the influence of Christianity and the sacrifice of Christ.
Ahota'e'iloa has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including: Hikule'o, Nathan Homestead, 2016; Tonga i Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, 2015; Tonga i Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary, Pataka, Wellington, 2015; Tauhi Va, Fresh Gallery, Auckland 2014; Atenisi exhibition, Nuku’alofa, 2013; Future Building Or The Art Of Living Creatively, Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland, 2012; No’o Fakataha, Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland, 2012; The Day That Never Came, Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland, 2011; Kava Kuo Heka, Nuku’alofa, 2009; New Work, Nathan Homestead, Auckland, 2007; (Re)locating Home, Fresh Gallery Otara; Alliance Francaise, Suva, 2006.
Featured image: Ahota'e'iloa Toetu'u: Moana 2018
Location: South British Insurance Company Auckland CBD