This exhibition of new large-scale photographic works draws attention to the devastating impact, truth and reality of the colonisation and Christianisation of the Pacific. It issues from Semu’s deep interest in this epoch in human history, which witnessed the catastrophic collision of indigenous tribal worlds and colonial imperialism and the creation of great European history paintings.
The exhibition pivots on Semu’s work with a cast of indigenous actors in the Cook Islands in restaging and digitally capturing two epic nineteenth-century European history paintings. Semu focuses attention on Théodore Géricault’s, The Raft of the Medusa 1819 and Louis John Steele and Charles F Goldie’s The Arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand 1898. From this digital photographic material, extensively edited and reconfigured, Semu creates monumental light box images for display in a black exhibition space.
This project is supported by Creative New Zealand and Wallace Arts Trust New Zealand.
Greg Semu – The Raft of the Tagata Pasifika (People of the Pacific) National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 10 JUN 16 – 11 SEP 16