A True and Strange Story - The life of Teuane Ann Tibbo - Artist 1895-1984
Publication date: January 2013
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
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Teuane (pronounced with soft e and a), Te-u-ane Ann Tibbo was born in Vaimea, Samoa in 1895. A rumour circulated in Samoa that she was the secret child of famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa from 1889 until his death in 1894. Linda Herrick Arts editor, of the New Zealand Herald in her article, ¿The Return of the Matriarch¿ dated April 26th 2002 quoted the Stevenson connection to Teuane's family in a retrospective article that celebrates the art and mysterious life of Teuane Tibbo, who started painting at the age of 69. Teuane lived through the period when Germany, the United States of America and Britain occupied her country. Teuane was abducted by a German plantation owner in Samoa, when she was 15 years old. She was forced to marry him by her parents. After a few years of marriage Teuane shot him in the left buttock. He died of gangrene poisoning a week later. Teuane went to prison for a short period. On her release she moved to Suva, the capital of the Fiji Islands. In Suva she met an English naval officer named Lt. Commander Edward Victor Tibbo RN. They moved to Samoa where they married. Teuane was a proud person. She was a descendant of high-born ancestors of the 3000 year old Independent Kingdom of Samoa. Edward and Teuane sailed from Fiji to New Zealand in 1946 with their mature family to live in Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. After an exciting and socially satisfying life they retired. At the age of 69 Teuane decided she would take up a hobby when she saw her artist daughter's paintings, and asked her daughter if she could show her how to paint. Two months later she had painted a collection of twenty three large colourful works. Her daughter contacted an artist, Pat Hanly who knew Barry Lett, a well-known Auckland art dealer, he arranged an exhibition of Teuane's works in his gallery. The public and media made her famous overnight. He became her dealer over her 12 year career, during which she painted over 100 paintings. Curators, dealers and collectors from Germany, USA, Japan, England, Australia and New Zealand bought her controversial paintings. Teuane's paintings were nearly lost to posterity. Her husband Edward didn't like the paintings. He angrily threatened to destroy her works saying, "I'll burn the bloody lot... they are naïve!" Teuane Anne Tibbo passed away in her sleep on 22nd May 1984. She was admired, and respected by her fellow artists, and loved by her six children, her grand children, great grandchildren and friends.