Tonu Shane is one of the most influential, distinctive and prolific Polynesian-American sculptors of his generation. An indigenous contemporary eco-artist originally from Oceania, his global works honour the tradition and styles of his South Pacific Polynesian ancestors (his maternal grandparents are from Rotuma in the Fiji Islands). His art has taken traditional craft styles and combined them with modern art influences and contemporary techniques, establishing an artistic style that is quite remarkable, and distinctly his own. Working with his innate sense of universal energy, Tonu was called to carving while still a teenager to reveal the exceptional form and beauty communicated by the “mana of the trees”: he is a Spiritcarver.
For him making art is not a career path, it is a vocation. He has perfected his skills over thirty years and his incredible collections continue to inspire a sense of wonder in the viewer; each unique piece is an organic testament to the hidden worlds and dimensions within nature. Evoking a powerful and emotional response, his exclusively created collections are potent in their ability to harness and communicate archetypal forms and ancient wisdom with a contemporary “environmental message”. Tonu Shane has achieved international renown with public art projects completed in Britain, Hawaii, Australia, in the Czech Republic, and across the United States. This artist has created over 300 large scale Public Artworks, many ranging up to 30 – 50 ft in height, that are at once exquisitely detailed and monolithic in stature. Shane’s signature Healing Poles — which the media has labelled Acupuncture Needles for Planet Earth — have been commissioned by communities and indigenous groups and private collectors around the globe.
As a full-time artist, Tonu was based out of San Francisco, California, 1987 – 2002. He has been the Artist- In-Residence for the Cultural Conservancy for 18 years and was the Founder and Director of the first sustainable wood carving program on the Winward Campus at the University of Hawaii. His works can be found in locations at the Golden Gate National Parks, the San Francisco Zoo, Presidio National Park, the California Academy of Sciences, the Bronx Zoo, the Shoreline Amphitheatre (U.S.), the University of Prague (Czech Republic), Australia Zoo, the Able Gallery, the Logan City Butter Factory Park, ( Australia) and the Hilary Nature Reserve (Ecuador) — as well as many other locations. Selected Commissions: Mick Jagger Dave Gilmour – Pink Floyd Dave Matthews – Stage and Set Design Touring.