Baton artist for torch relay inspired by Samoa

For Samoan craftsman, Penehuro Papali’i, creating the baton for the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games torch relay has been a memorable experience inspired by his homeland.

“There are a lot of things that keep me motivated, such as our beautiful island that we have here, the nature. It’s a calling to continue and to enjoy the gift," he said.

“The design was from the Pacific Games Office and I followed through with [creating the baton]." 

Penehuro uses natural materials he finds to create his distinctive carvings.

“I found the treasure here, especially the stones, and it keeps me [in Samoa],” he continued. “I believe I have everything here for free.”

Creating the torch baton is a significant milestone in his career, as he continues to make his art known in Samoa and pursue his talent.

While there have been challenges along the way to remain being an artist, passion got the better of him and he never stopped.

“Artists are born, not made,” he said. “For an artist to survive in this small country is not easy, but I believe it’s the nature of an artist, if we are not strong enough it will be very hard to live as an artist.”

Penehuro runs his own art gallery at Lelata.

“I’m very happy to live here and do my art in Samoa. I learned by looking at things, because textbooks cannot teach you everything, it’s the practical work that counts.

“I’m thankful to the Lord and Samoa that I’m strong enough to do my work here.”


Photo supplied