Samuel Tupou’s DIVE IN (Sunset to Sunrise) for the façade of the Utopia development in Fortitude Valley has been inspired by the sunset scene in the 1980’s arcade game Out Run, but also the aerial acrobatics of platform diving. This concept evokes and represents the freedom that is associated with Fortitude Valleys “dusk till dawn” nightlife and responds to the curatorial rationale developed by us for Utopia, which is defined as “a new urban spectrum”.
A spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but may vary across a continuum. The word was first used scientifically in optics to describe the rainbow of colours in visible light after passing through a prism. In modern usages of the term, there is a unifying theme between the extremes at either end.
Samuel Tupou’s artwork for Utopia symbolically and literally exudes colour and an edgy pixelated aesthetic. It “speaks to the street” with conviction and optimism, communicating with “the Valley” in a language of confidence, difference, tolerance and personality. The Valley precinct offers a genuine spectrum of plurality and inclusivity and the artwork embraces this through its diverse elements. In DIVE IN (Sunset to Sunrise), Tupou celebrates the dynamic social mores of the precinct in which this artwork exists.
“Between 2014 and 2016 I lived and worked in Fortitude Valley. When creating a public artwork for the diverse environment that is the ‘Valley’, some of the ideas that I wanted to convey were vibrant energy, freedom and fun.”
His art practice focusses on the convergence of colour and pattern, image manipulation and processing, mathematical geometry, and 1980s video game imagery as well as the patterning found in his Tongan and Polynesian heritage, Tapa cloth design and fine mat weaving.