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Hocken exhibition Undressing the Pacific tours to Auckland’s Pah Homestead


Wednesday 19 February 2014 3:25pm

A mid-career exhibition of photographic and performance works by prominent New Zealand artist Shigeyuki Kihara, ‘Undressing the Pacific’, opens to the public at the The Pah Homestead, Auckland, in early March.

Undressing the Pacific

Undressing the Pacific is being toured by the Hocken Library, University of Otago following its inaugural showing at the Hocken last year.

“The Library is very pleased to be touring this exhibition to Auckland after a successful showing at the Hocken Gallery last year,” says Hocken Curator of Pictorial Collections Natalie Poland.

In 2012 Kihara was honoured with the Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award and also a New Generation Award from The Arts Foundation.

Ms Poland adds that having the show exhibited at the Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, also pays tribute to the generosity of Sir James Wallace, whose Art Awards recognised Kihara in 2012 when she received the Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award.

Winning this Prize enabled her to live in New York for six months in 2013.

Ms Poland says: “The enthralling video work, Galu Afi; Waves of Fire, which won the award, is one of three filmed dance performances to feature in the show.”

“There is growing recognition for Kihara as an international artist, whose career to date includes a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008) in New York, with works and performances presented at the Asia Pacific Triennial and the Auckland Triennial,” she says.

“Despite having had her art exhibited in New York, public galleries in New Zealand have been slow to show the full extent of Kihara’s work. This is the first significant exhibition of Kihara’s work to be mounted in this country. When this exhibition was developed by the Hocken Library it was the first time that Kihara’s art had been shown at a public art gallery in the South Island.”

Born in Samoa of mixed Samoan and Japanese heritage, Shigeyuki Kihara migrated to New Zealand as a teenager in 1989. She studied Fashion Design and Technology and initially worked as a stylist before coming to prominence as a multimedia and performance artist.

Ms Poland says Undressing the Pacific is a mid-career survey exhibition of Kihara’s art practice that spans a decade of her impressive career.

“Early European visitors to Samoa misinterpreted cultural traditions including forms of dance as sexual provocation. Kihara subverts this perception and also makes dance a key part of her practice. Undressing the Pacific features three dance performances presented as digital videos that feature Kihara as the sole protagonist.”

One particular costume - the Victorian mourning dress – features prominently in both Kihara’s performance and photographic work.

Ms Poland says this garment, introduced to Samoa by Victorian missionaries in the late nineteenth century, is worn by the artist in the performance Taualuga: The Last Dance (2006-2011), and in her most recent photographic series Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (2013).

The exhibition opens on Monday 3 March at 6pm. It will run until 13 April.

For further information:


For further information, publicity images or to contact the artist regarding an interview contact the exhibition curator:
Natalie Poland, Hocken Collections
Tel 64 3 479 5600

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