Paradise Camp comprises twelve tableau photographs featuring a cast of Sāmoan Fa'afafine (Sāmoa’s ʻthird gender’), repurposing and upcycling paintings by the late post-impressionist French artist Paul Gauguin believed to have been inspired by Sāmoa.
Kihara’s performative photography is presented against a vast wallpaper of a landscape decimated by the 2009 tsunami, and alongside First Impressions: Paul Gauguin - a five-part talk-show series written and directed by Yuki Kihara, commissioned by Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen in 2018, where a group of Fa'afafine comment wittily on select Gauguin paintings.
Inspired by the faleaitu (house of spirits) skits performed in Sāmoan, Kihara also casts herself as Gauguin in Paul Gauguin with a Hat (after Gauguin). In this ingenious role reversal, Kihara is transformed via silicone prosthetics, costume, moustache and wig into the 19th century French painter who spent ten years in French Polynesia.
The exhibition also features a “Vārchive” – a term coined by Kihara that uses the Sāmoan concept of Vā to describe her relationship with her archive of research. The artist says, “My Vārchive includes personal research, rare books by 19th century explorers, colonial portraits, pamphlets, news items, a geological sculpture and activist material. It provides both a backstory of how Paradise Camp came into being, and as a living entity, it helps to provide new meaning in the present and future.”
TO ENQUIRE ABOUT ACQUIRING WORKS IN PARADISE CAMP PHONE +64 3 477 7727 OR
NEW ZEALAND AT VENICE WEBSITE
Visit the official NZATVENICE website to access a walkthrough of the exhibition, an interactive VIRTUAL EXPLORE section with comprehensive information about each artwork, videos with Yuki's commentary on numerous aspects of Paradise Camp, the complete Yuki Kihara Vārchive, and the full New Zealand at Venice story.
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