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HOTA’s Children’s Gallery presents a new exhibition from Saturday 10th December – a pop-up tropical island filled with interactivity for the whole family to explore.

TROPIC ARCADIA is a fun-filled realm of adventure depicted through the layered art of Tongan-Polynesian Artist Samuel Tupou.

Samuel has created a curious, pop-up island described as part memory, part imagination and part arcade game, with his art aiming to create new narratives, portraying both personal and shared histories.

“My work is heavily inspired by traditional Tongan and Pacific Island tapa cloth design. I have incorporated design elements such as layers of pattern and repetition of symbols and motifs into my work to create new tapa,” said Samuel.

TROPIC ARCADIA encourages visitors to HOTA’s Children’s Gallery to collect a map and start their expedition through the multi-dimensional exhibition. Exploration is key, as children can colour and create their own adventure as they discover tropical island scenes throughout the exhibition. 

With activities such as Pattern Play, busy little hands can build 2D and 3D patterns using magnetic shapes; there is an interactive peg wall where you can create your own absurd composition including UFOs, pineapples, pigs and more; or look through the View Finder to see the concept of colours and patterns come to life. 

HOTA Gallery Director, Tracy Cooper-Lavery said: “We are delighted to work with Samuel on this exhibition presented exclusively at HOTA, not only to offer a platform to share Samuel’s practice, but to invite the Gold Coast’s youngest art fans into his immersive, hyper-pop world. The exhibition is also an exciting pop art companion to our forthcoming world exclusive international exhibition Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York.”

TROPIC ARCADIA follows on from the first three successful exhibitions for families – World Upside Down, Dumpling Dreams and Postcards from the Edge

HOTA’s dedicated Children’s Gallery has significantly contributed to the 180,000+ visitors the Gallery welcomed in its first twelve months of opening. 

TROPIC ARCADIA opens at HOTA, Home of the Arts from Saturday 10th December and will be open 7 days a week. Entry to the exhibition is FREE and visitors can get a sneak peek inside from today.

Explore the HOTA Gallery, and more this summer school holidays, including A Sprinkling of Christmas with Angel Wings (10 December – sold out), A Bee Story 2 (17 Dec – sold out) Christmas Night Markets (16 December), Kids Imagine: Write like an Author (10-12 January), The Teeny Tiny Stevies (13 January), Sunday HOTA Markets and moreA selection of gallery and visual arts inspired workshops are also available for vacation care groups in January.


For more information on the exhibition and what’s on at HOTA over the school holidays, head to the HOTA website:  


Exhibition Major Partner: Robina Town Centre, Bendigo Bank Community Bank Paradise Point and Pimpama-Ormeau. The Children’s Gallery and associated programs are supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation.


Samuel Tupou is a Brisbane-based artist specialising in screenprinting. He creates artworks that respond to his Tongan and Polynesian heritage, incorporating patterns derived from and inspired by tapa (bark cloth) design. Tupou sets these against the stylised images and wildly artificial colours of western pop culture. His recent works draw inspiration from mathematical geometry and 80s video game imagery, as well as Pacific Island tapa cloth design and fine mat weaving. 


Born 1976, Dunedin, New Zealand; lives Brisbane, Queensland. 

Samuel Tupou studied Printmaking at James Cook University, Townsville and Southern Cross University, Lismore. He has contributed to public art commissions in Brisbane and Cairns. 

Tupou’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Cairns Regional Gallery, Centre of Contemporary Art (Cairns), Artbank (Sydney) and the State Library of Victoria. 

Samuel Tupou is represented by Onespace Gallery.