May 2016 - Selu was one of ten artists chosen by the White House. His art was featured in the East Wing of the White House.
From the White House blog:
My name is Selu Alofipo, son of Saolotoga and Sophronia Alofipo. My late father hails from the village of Saleaula, Savai’I and my mother was raised in Malaela, Upolu. I was born and raised in a small village called Vaitoloa also in Upolu. Savai’I and Upolu are island chains in what is affectionately known as Samoa. My favorite Samoan Proverb is “Ole ala ile Pule ole Tautua”— “The path to leadership is through service.” I believe that to understand where one is going, one must know where he came from. Although I am very proud of my heritage, I am extremely thankful for the blessings and opportunities made available to me in this great country.
I am keenly aware of the struggles and sacrifices my parents made to get our family to this country. For that, I am eternally indebted. I vigorously carry a great responsibility to improve upon the foundation that was so carefully laid before me. I am honestly humbled and even embarrassed at such a great honor for something that I consider to be a normal expectation of a citizen of this country.
My journey as an artist began as an act of desperation. I wanted more; I wanted better, and I expected both. I simply got tired of getting by. I have a college education; I played Division I football and started every year I played; I am healthy and strong, I am blessed with certain abilities and gifts. Why then was I living on food stamps? Why was I struggling to get bills paid? Why could I not take my family on awesome vacations? Why am I not better? These questions burned inside of me and it literally brought me to my knees. I decided to take action and begin creating! With very little materials to work with, I gathered whatever was in my garage and began working. Each step I took led to another “bread crumb” that lead me to more ideas. I acted upon inspiration and brought to life something I was very proud of. My work kept me up at nights and inspiration kept coming like a leaky faucet. I began consuming books not only about art but about life, about amazing people, and anything that looked interesting!
I find it strange that I am being honored for my artwork that has presumably inspired many. Everywhere I go, people recognize me as “Selu the artist” – the guy who travels the country, appears on TV, has stories written about him, is invited to organizations to speak, and has collectors from all over the world purchasing his work. Little do they realize that I am an ordinary guy who was a counselor for the state of Utah, a roofer, a financial advisor, a high school football coach, a solar energy consultant, a digital marketing consultant, and yes, an ARTIST. I am simply a guy who wants more and expects more. It is my sincere desire and hope that all of my Polynesian brothers and sisters will find within themselves the resolve to be better and the courage to find that hidden jewel inside of them and begin taking steps towards their best thoughts and interests. Begin creating!
Selu Alofipo is an expressionist artist and founder of Selu Alofipo Fine Art. He is from Salt Lake City, Utah.
To see more of Selu's artwork, click here.