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Perspective on Public Arts by Toka Valu

Artist Toka Valu with his daughter

Toka Valu, an artist on the 2021-23 Public Art Artist Roster, shares some encouraging words for fellow artists to apply.

Artist Toka Valu stands with his back to the camera with his mural HaiKU MAter saFEKEeping in the background.
Toka Valu with his mural HaiKU MAter saFEKEeping
Artist Toka Valu with his daughter on a blue forklift in front of a colorful mural.
Toka Valu with his daughter in front of his mural

I really think Public Arts is one of the disciplines that Pasifika Artists are well positioned for given their unique cultural perspective and worldview. I can personally attest to how my Tongan heritage has been an awesome source for me not only for inspiration but also for practical design solutions through each of my projects. I’ve also had the great fortune to work with some amazing Project Managers who’ve provided timely guidance and supportive mentorship – I can’t sing their praises enough.

Lastly, I’ll just say that having the opportunity to infuse my heritage into public spaces and to be involved in some transformative projects has helped my practice grow in ways that I can’t begin to describe. The experience has been phenomenal, and I hope more Pasifika and underrepresented artists take the chance to apply.

Toka Valu

Learn more about the artist @tokavalu and at

Attend an Information Workshop with Toka Valu

Virtual session: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 7 p.m.

Join artist Toka Valu and ARTS Project Manager Maija McKnight to learn more about the Public Art Artist Roster. The meeting will include information from Toka and his personal experience as a current artist on the roster, as well as an overview of how to apply by Project Manager Maija McKnight. The session will be about 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A.

Artist Toka Valu smiles into the camera with his mural in the background. A salmon appears above him.
Toka Valu with his mural