In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • About the Artist:Greg Semu
  • Beverly Knight

Click for larger view
View full resolution

Self-portrait with Side of Pe‘a, Sentinel Road, Herne Bay, by Greg Semu. 2012.

Digital C-type print, edition of 10, 100 × 72 cm. Image courtesy of Greg Semu and the Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Covering Semu’s body from midriff to knees, Samoan tatau (tattoo) is a complex icon of Samoan identity. In 1994, Semu underwent the rite of passage receiving tatau that signify his genealogy and Samoan traditions. In 1995, his first triptych photographic self-portraits led to the exhibition O le Tatau Sāmoa, and the Auckland Art Gallery commissioned Semu to revisit the series in 2012, as seen here.

[End Page viii]

Independent indigenous researcher, curator, and artist Greg Semu was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 1971. He embraces Sāmoa as his ancestral and spiritual home, and his artistic practice often begins in the Vā (the space between) and draws from the vast Ocean that unites rather than divides. Semu’s artworks start with research and community engagement. Semu uses the visual language of photography, sound, and film to explore the significance of identity and create evocative dialogues to challenge the romanticizedcolonialist documentation of “first contact.” In 2007, as the first artist in residence at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris, he created the Noble Savage series. These photographic paintings reenact moments that are both historically and art historically significant. Using mediums synonymous with truth and reality, Semu’s photographs seduce the viewer to challenge preconceived notions of history and culture.


Click for larger view
View full resolution

One Knight in Shining Armour. Greg Semu, autoportrait (cropped), 2007.

In 2010, Semu and Lalau Leo Tanoi, creative producer of Pacific programs at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Sydney, collaborated with the National Rugby League (nrl) to produce a calendar to celebrate the Pacific Islands heritage of nrl players, using customary adornments loaned from Todd Barlin of Oceanic Arts Australia and contemporary works made by Sydney-based Māori artist Niwhai Tupaea. The series of photographs presented throughout this issue eventuated in the Body on the Line exhibition. Semu is careful to acknowledge that he is not attributing chiefly status to the players. Rather the artist and players pay tribute to the strength they derive from their ancestors and cultural heritage by incorporating items from a selection of loaned artifacts. [End Page ix]

Semu lives in Sydney. He is represented by Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne and his photographs are included in private and public collections worldwide. [End Page x]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Roy Asotasi, by Greg Semu. 2010.

Digital C-type print, edition of 10, 100 × 72 cm. Image courtesy of Greg Semu and the Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Roy Asotasi wears his Samoan heritage like battle armor in the form of intricate tattoos and a family ula (garland). The to‘oto‘o (wooden staff) he clutches symbolizes authority reserved for matai (chiefs), as does the fue (fly whisk), which is normally worn over the left shoulder to denote tulafale (orator chief) status.

Roy Asotasi currently plays for the Warrington Wolves. In 2013, he captained Sëmoa in their test match against Tonga.

[End Page 280]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Petero Civoniceva, by Greg Semu. 2010.

Digital C-type print, edition of 10, 100 × 72 cm. Image courtesy of Greg Semu and the Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Fijian Petero Civoniceva is adorned in cassowary feathers, pig tusk chest plate, and Papua New Guinean and Fijian tapa held by a belt of dogteeth; he holds a Fijian war club. By combining items from many parts of Oceania, Semu and the players celebrate the diversity of Pacific Islands heritage throughout the National Rugby League. Semu feels that the various adornments visually acknowledge the spiritual origins of the players’ collective ancestors.

In 2009, Civoniceva became the first forward to play forty international tournaments for Australia, and he represented Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.

[End Page 302]


Click for larger view
View full resolution

Dene Halatau, by Greg Semu. 2010.

Digital C-type print, edition of 10, 100 × 72 cm. Image courtesy of Greg Semu...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. viii-553
Launched on MUSE
2014-09-17
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.