Rusiate’s ideas are nourished from his direct family who have had gifted him with a strong cultural identity from their contributions as Fijian artistic icons.
Added to this influences from a modernist tradition and you have an energetic body of work grounded in ancestral history.
A founding member of the Red Wave group at the Oceanic Centre of the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji in 1998, Rusiate was inspired by his lecturer artist John Pule and Professor Epeli Ha u ofa.
Rusiate’s acrylic and oil paintings pay reference to traditional tapa textiles with their geometric patterns and shapes.
Encoded within these design elements are personal totemic iconography and narratives that source both the artist’s contemplations of contemporary popular culture and ancestral stories.
In these essentially graphic works, the artist assembles layers of paint, lines and pattern as he would collect stories and snippets of personal memorabilia.
Rusiate has a strong connection to contemporary popular culture and has participated in music, poetry, film, dance and multi media arts. Some of the works resemble story boards or comic strips with the images broken up and reassembled in a collage mixing past and present.
Rusiate states his influences are many in the modernist tradition, ranging from Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Basquait and Picasso. His regard for these Masters reinforces a need to look at his ancestral roots and like Picasso he dips deep into the well to draw the totemic icons and patterns of his family. He indulges his pleasure in line, pattern and colour to reinforce his personal mythic stories. He also utilises the tool of erasure and scrapes back into the highly textured surfaces to reveal underlying structures and stories.
Colour for Rusiate has both personal significance and historical reference. Mostly his graphic black and white design elements form a structure to imbed snippets of tapa, text and images. The colour of the tapa is often ochres or black with vivid warm tones of yellow, red and brown enlivening the canvas. Only occasionally do the cool tones of blue temper the heat.