Since completing his Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications at Unitec Institute of Technology, Graham went on to complete his Masters of Fine Arts followed by his Doctorate of Fine Arts in 2010 from Elam School of Fine Arts at The University of Auckland. As well his own exhibition practice Graham has curated a number of exhibitions and featured in numerous publications. His work alsoÂ sits in a number of private and public art collections including Aigantighe Art Gallery, The Auckland Art Gallery, The Dowse Art Museum, The James
Grahamâ€™s surrealist paintings aim to deconstrust various issues of interest to Pacific cultures. In his earlier work he stylised these issues into personal visual symbols. This can be seen in Quaratine, 2000 where he used microscopic imagery to represent the diseases and viruses colonisation introduced to the Pacific. Then again in Bad Medicine, 2001, where the representation was of the medicines used. Graham negotiates his cultural heritage without privileging either his Samoan or European culture. Instead we see a conciousness of the insider and the outsider focusing on the implications of colonisation. One of these areas of interest is the history of appropriated artefacts.
In Lounge Room Tribalism 2010, Graham paints the interiors of Western living spaces, appropriated from architectural publications and implants cultural artefacts. The viewer is left to contemplate these large scale paintings, with their eyes quickly finding these items of adornment. In these spaces, these cultural artefacts have a totemic quality enabling a power shift in favor of the collected rather than the collector. This series recalls on the European interest of privitism, refering especially to the Surrealistsâ€™ who attempt to use hybrid spaces as a way of creating subliminal connections between disparate objects.
Graham has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including:Â Dear Stranger, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, 2016; Time of Others, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, The National Museum of Art, Osaka & Singapore Art Museum, 2015; Phantom Cube, Gow Langsford Gallery, 2014; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013; The Seventh Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery - Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2012; Red Mill Gallery, Johnson, Vermont, USA, 2011; Lounge Room Tribalism, George Fraser Gallery, 2010; Headland: Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island, 2009, Samoa Contemporary, Pataka Museum, Porirua City, 2008; The Eternals,Â Anna Bibby Gallery, Auckland, 2007; IKI and Thanks for All the IKA, Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Lithuania, 2003; Biennale dâ€™art contemporain de NoumÃ©a, Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia, 2000; Stigma Series, Anna Bibby Gallery, Auckland, 1999; A Culmination, Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland, 1997. He is represented by Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland.