Favourite Things: Artist and Writer Lana Lopesi

Lana Lopesi’s favourite things are a testament to her creative practice and community

Lana Lopesi. Picture / Guy Coombes.

As an artist and writer, Lana Lopesi connects the two mediums with a practice that places emphasis upon research. She is a born and bred Westie, currently residing on a farm in Swanson, which allows room to “breathe” away from the city.

“For me it’s the small things within our home which can provide havens or reprieves from everyday life — the artwork you glance at or reading a well-designed art house publication.”

It’s evident through her most treasured objects that Lana is a supporter of the creative community she is surrounded by. Recent travels to Taiwan, China and Samoa have seen this network grow, as well as expanding her research through first-hand experience.

“My research at the moment looks into how food groups are moved around the world and how that has effected both migrant labour forces and indigenous staple diets.”

Lana is a presenter at this year’s Spark Festival in Hamilton (August 8-11), where she will talk about what it means being an indigenous woman in the creative industries.


Good Winter tote bag; Bookshelf; Walis Labai head bands. Pictures / Guy Coombes.

1. Good Winter tote bag
I had my eye on a Good Winter bag long before I got my hands on one. I’ve always loved the timeless cuts. Good Winter is a local company that produces high-quality leather bags handmade by Samoan designer and founder Jared Fa’asalele. I love being able to buy quality leather goods while also supporting a young Samoan entrepreneur.

2. Bookshelf
I found this original newspaper stand in an op shop. My art practice involves a lot of publication design, so I was really attracted to it and thought it might be something I would use for a future project. When I got it home I realised how great all the art publications and catalogues I have collected over time look on it.

3. Walis Labai head bands
I was given these a couple of months ago from Walis Labai while in Taiwan on an artist residency. Walis is an incredible indigenous Taiwanese artist, designer and professor from the Seediq people. He invited me to speak at a conference at the University where he teaches a bachelor of indigenous design. During the conference his students were dressed in their traditional dress, they danced and served us traditional food. It was a really humbling experience for me and my family.

Serene Timoteo prints; Polaroid drawings. Pictures / Guy Coombes.

4. Serene Timoteo prints
I went to high school (Auckland Girls’ Grammar) and later to university with Serene and I have seen her art practice develop into what it is today. I bought these prints as a Christmas present for my partner and myself one year. Serene uses colloquial phrases common among Pacific youth and, in this instance, has screen printed them on to plastic stretched on canvas.

5. Polaroid drawings
I recently left full-time employment to have more time to work on my art and writing. At my leaving lunch a friend pulled out a packet of polaroid film and gave one to everyone around the table. She gave us instructions on how to push the ink around the film with the end of a fork or a pen so to create a type of drawing which you then leave to develop. It was really a nice gesture and now I have these primo drawings made by some of my favourite artists and curators.

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