Der PapÄlagi (The White Man)
18 November â€“ 29 January 2017
Cairns Regional Gallery, North Queensland, Australia
On 18 November 2016, the Cairns Regional Gallery, Queensland, Australia is presenting Yuki Kiharaâ€™s new body of work entitledÂ â€˜Der PapÄlagi (The White Man)â€™.Â Yuki Kihara is an Interdisciplinary artist whose workÂ engages in a variety of social, political and cultural issues. Often referencing Pacific history, her work explores the varying relationships between gender, race, culture and politics.Â
The title of this new series comes from a book written by Erich Scheurmann, aÂ German national who lived in Samoa during the German colonial administration of thecountry (1900 â€“ 1914). Published in 1920, it contains descriptions of European lifeÂ seen through the eyes of Tuiavii, a Samoan chief. The book was widely criticised however, after it was discovered that Scheurmann had created the character of Tuiavii and that the descriptions were in fact his own social commentary.
PapÄlagiÂ is used to describe non-Samoans, or anything considered not indigenous toÂ Samoa or Samoan culture.Â Kiharaâ€™sÂ Der PapÄlagi (The White Man)Â series is a response to Scheurmannâ€™s book and features a public performance presented as a social experiment in which Christian and Barbara Durst â€“ German migrants who have lived in Samoa for over 24 years â€“ â€œgo nativeâ€. Dressed in full indigenous Samoan regalia, they make public appearances in five locations in and around the capital city of Apia. The varied reactions of the public to the German couple are captured in video and photograph and are reminiscent ofÂ The Couple in a CageÂ (1992-1993) by performance artists Guillermo GÃ³mez-PeÃ±a and Coco Fusco, in which the artists present themselves in a cage as â€œundiscoveredâ€ Amerindians to unsuspecting US audiences. In Kiharaâ€™s work it is the PapÄlagi who are the Other, subject to the Samoan gaze. The series raises questions around Samoan nationalism and the politics of â€˜homeâ€™ and â€˜belongingâ€™ while exploring the ethical boundaries between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.
In addition to her solo exhibitions presented at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary ArtÂ Gallery in Auckland and the Orange County Museum of Art in California this yearÂ Yuki Kihara will be participating in the upcoming Honolulu Biennial in March 2017,Â curated by Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.
â€˜Der PapÄlagi (The White Man)â€™Â project received support from the Creative NewÂ Zealand Arts Council and the Gallery is the first Australian venue to exhibit.
IMAGE:Â Yuki Kihara,Â Der PapÄlagi at the Fugalei Market 2016Â From theÂ Der PapÄlagi (The White Man) series 2016, c-print, printed image 667 x 1000 mm, Courtesy of the artist and Milford Galleries Dunedin, New Zealand.< BACK TO LISTINGS