Iosefa is known as a prominent figurative sculptor in New Zealand carving predominately in limestone, marble and wood. His main interests including conveying depth of feeling and the physicality of the human form. Details of expression, gesture and texture were important in the completion of his work. Iosefa’s work expresses an excellent, intuitive understanding of form, and also a great respect for the entablature of the block. The sculptures have an easy monumentality with his ability to simplify from reality without losing the power of
Samoan life, traditions and family values were a big influence on Iosefa Leo and his earlier work reflects this. Later, his sculptures became more expressive of universal themes, such as contemplation, prayer, joy and the strength of spirituality. A continuing sense of reverence graces all his works, allowing the viewer a sense of calm and Pacific vitality. Iosefa established a sculpture garden featuring large works in wood and stone in Marlborough.
His work is held in a number of collections, including Te Papa Tongarewa; Samoan Government Museum, Apia; Jean Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia; Dowse Art Gallery; Auckland Institute of Technology; Millennium Public Art Gallery; Blenheim Manawatu Art Gallery and Museum Private collections in New Zealand, England, Hong Kong. References to his works and practice can also be found in AMBA, Icons of New Zealand, Wellington, 1994; Speaking in Colour, Mallon and Pereira (editors) and Christ for all People; celebrating Christian Art, O’Grady (editor).