For Litea | sprayed by Benjamin WORk

For Litea | sprayed by Benjamin WORk

One of eight fence panels that makes up 'the street loves nana'.

This original design is painted by Benjamin WORk. The sewing has been completed by a cast of many - sometimes over coffee and crumpets - captured here is its growth stitch by stitch.

Here's what Benjamin says about his Nana - Litea.

My grandma was such a soft-hearted lady with some tough skin when needed.

She was born on a tiny island, Niuafoou in Tonga. In 1946 her family fled a volcanic eruption to another island group, Vava'u. She sat crossed legged on the floor weaving mats or making Taovala (waist mat) and Ngatu (Tapa) making.

I would watch her and want to join in but was often told that only women created this kind of work. But that did not take away my fascination with Tongan motifs especially the 'Lupe' (dove) that reminds me of her.

'the street loves nana' is an original idea conceived by designer Margaret Lewis to be a collaborative project between herself, NZ street artists and anyone wanting to give handcraft a go.


Benjamin Work is a South Auckland-based visual artist of Tongan and Scottish heritage.

With a strong foundation in aerosol painting and grati, Work is a core member of the international art collective, TMD.

He has worked on diverse projects including large-scale public mural commissions, limited edition wine boxes and postage stamps. Recently, his practice has also expanded to photography and performance.

Work has exhibited in Tijuana, Miami, Sydney and Tonga where he travels frequently. Work is also an active member of the Auckland-based Tongan art collective, No’o Fakataha,in which he maintains a strong interest in Ngatu (Tongan bark cloth) making, design and motifs.

Work explores kula (red) and `uli (black), colours which have been used in Tongan thinking and practice, like the Pacific/Moana cultural concepts and practices, for centuries.

Technical Information: 

Fence mesh - framed by pallet timber - handsewn with wool.