Sheyne Tuffery received a Bachelor of Visual Arts from AUT in 1995 and his Masters of Fine Arts (honours) in 2000 from The University of Auckland. Since graduating, Sheyne has received a number of awards, residencies and commissions. His works are held in many public collections in Christchurch, Auckland, Washington DC, Michigan and Bethlehem. Sheyne also notably founded and directed LeSa Gallery in Petone from 2007 and 2012, an important dealer gallery for Pacific artists. Based in Wellington, Sheyne is a multi-media visual artist whose primary mediums are painting, animation and printmaking.
Perhaps best known for the dynamic style of his prints and woodcuts, Sheyne describes himself as a paper architect who uses his work to create and represent his own cultural context and sense of belonging. His prints and paintings often envisage Polynesia as a futuristic urban utopia. In these re-imaginings, the Samoan fale acts as the symbolic archetype for skyscrapers and apartment housing while the vaka stands in for rocket ships. These works reflect Sheyne’s research into his Samoan heritage and symbolism, his travel wanderlust and his taste for big overseas cities. They also reveal ongoing influences, such as the world of fantasy, comics, and cartoons, which add a sense of immediacy and humour to his subject matter.