Siliga completed his Master of Fine Art from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in 2013. This study provided Siliga a contemplative space for investigating the word play he was already doing. Reflecting his upbringing on the border of fa’aSamoa and New Zealand culture in Mt Eden, Siliga is focused on the New Zealand based Pacific experience. As well as an extensive exhibition career his work has been featured in major institutions such as Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, The Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland and
Siliga refers to his home as a “decolonized zone” where Samoan was the only language. Growing up with such strong Samoan influences in Auckland created a sense of confusion that contributed to Siliga “feeling neither here nor there and always wondering, questioning and searching for a place of belonging”. This search for belonging is a continual theme in his art, whether the belonging that his Parents’ generation struggled for or the belonging that his generation of New Zealand-born Samoans question. While this questioning, investigates what it means to be Samoan, it also allows Siliga the luxury of questioning cultural structures, particularly issues surrounding the church.
The multiplicity of Siliga’s commentary is dependent on language and context. Samoan speakers will recognize the meaning of certain phrases, those who have grown up in Auckland will understand ones like Bungaz in the Hood – homage to Ponsonby and Grey Lynn the original FOB mecca. Siliga’s sculptures, wearable or not, are a means of acknowledging the complicated New Zealand based Pacific Islanders history, using terms like bungaz and FOB (fresh of the boat – a derogatory term for migrant Pacific peoples) recall and acknowledges the complicated social, religious, and political histories that are the reality of New Zealand-born Pacific peoples. Popo Hard Wear is one avenue this word play is explored, these printed tee shirts emerged from Otara markets in 2000. Calling out the home truths of our Pacific histories, also leads to a deeper self reflection of the ideals Siliga is questioning.
Siliga has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including: PIMPI Winter Series, Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo, 2015; To be Pacific, Tarawhiti Museum, 2013; HomeAKL, Auckland Art Gallery, 2012; Niu Pasifik: Urban art from the Pacific Rim, C.N. Gorman Museum, California, 2010; Urban Kainga, Deane Gallery, City Gallery, Wellington, 2010; No Sense Making Cents, Fresh Gallery Otara, 2009; Samoa Contemporary, Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, 2008.