In April 2012 Patrick Richard Lam – a Samoan New Zealander and the coach for the Blues squad’s rugby team made the national news headlines when he received vicious texts and threatening messages from the social media which blamed him together with the selected players in the Blue’s team for the loss of 5 out of 6 matches in the Super Rugby game was due to them being Polynesians. While many Polynesian rugby players today are actively being recruited by a variety of rugby clubs in New Zealand and internationally supposedly due to their body shape that can withstand the physical demands of the game, the rugby fans in return were quick to blame the race of the players for the loss of the game while demanding for their disciplinary actions in improving the performance of the ‘savages’ on the field.
This incident partly inspired the creation of ‘A Study of a Samoan Savage’ - a body of work comprised of photographs and silent video works informed by a broad critique on the historical representations of Samoan men and their association to athleticism and prowess as a racial stereotype linked to the ideas surrounding the ‘noble savage’ from being fetishized as a subject and object of ‘the other’ by 19th century Victorian science and exotic entertainment, and how these ideas continue to permeate in the postcolonial era.
Yuki Kihara is one of New Zealand's leading conceptual artists. She regularly exhibits, performs, and lectures internationally, and currently exhibiting her works at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art presented at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane Australia; and upcoming exhibitions presented at Orange County Museum of Art, California USA in April 2016 and Honolulu Biennial in March 2017 curated by Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Her works can be found in numerous national and international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Her works can also be found in private collections, among others, Giorgio Armani.
Sunday 6 March, 12pm