Rebecca Iona is a NZ born artist who resides in Auckland. Her art reflects her love for the Pacific Islands especially Samoa, a place she calls her second home.
"I was always intrigued by this place called Samoa... My grandfather quite often spoke of it. He used to source bananas along with other produce for the family business in NZ. He spoke very fondly of the people as did my grandmother who loved to support the locals by buying more baskets than she could ever use! My great grandfather also had a love of the islands and planted his Mt Albert property with all different varieties of Hibiscus from seeds he sourced whilst being over there. Gardenias and Frangipani were also a feature of his garden. I have very fond memories of Sunday strolls around my grandparents garden, smelling all the beautiful scents. My love of nature has definitely been instilled in me since I was very young.
I was twenty one when I first went to Samoa. I went to study at a Christian organisation called YWAM or Youth with a Mission. I was there for 4 months in a little village called Ululoloa in Apia. I remember my first impressions vividly.... first the heat wave stepping out of the plane, the friendly smiles, the taxi (a little scary if I am honest), the incredible vibrant coloured gardens edged with painted rocks or coconuts, little pigs (my favourite animals) running around, roosters crowing, open fales (brightly painted) nestled in amongst the gardens, the fresh fragrance of flowers mixed with the smokiness from bbqs and umu's cooking, the old brightly painted wooden buses, kids playing rugby with a coconut yelling "palagi" as we drove past!" It completely captured my heart and I knew this little island called Samoa was always going to be part of me.
It was there I met my husband and where we were married. We live in Auckland with our three daughters, however we try and return to Samoa every couple of years to visit family, soak in the beauty, gain inspiration and unwind with the laid back lifestyle.
My art is an expression of these lived experiences - instead of trying to bottle them I paint them! Whilst my style and mediums may change between collections, the common thread is the Pacific."
Rebecca is a self taught artist who has an extensive background in many creative fields including wedding dress design, dressmaking, cake decorating, interior design, floristry, graphic and web design, event planning and more.
Alongside her artistic abilities she has a heart for working with young people and seeing them thrive and succeed in life. She has worked as a youth and children's pastor, a tutor for an Private Training Institute and continues to walk alongside and mentor many young people.