NGV GALLERY ARTICLE
Large-scale photographic works that draw attention to the impact of colonisation on First Nations People across the Pacific. It pivots on Greg Semu’s work in the Cook Islands with a cast of twenty-two actors in restaging and digitally capturing two epic nineteenth-century European history paintings of heroic survival at sea. Semu re-imagines and reconfigures Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, 1819, and Louis John Steele and Charles F. Goldie’s The Arrival of the Māoris in New Zealand, 1898, which was based directly on Géricault’s work. From this digital photographic material, Semu has created monumental light-box installations. Employing photography’s capacity for interrogating truth, Semu questions the veracity of Goldie and Steele’s The Arrival of the Māoris in New Zealand and leads us towards a shared Māori view of their ancestors’ migratory voyage to Aotearoa / New Zealand.