Lisa Reihana (B.1964 Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau, Ngāpuhi-Ngāti Hine-Ngāi Tū-Te Auru) is among the most renowned contemporary artists from Aotearoa New Zealand. Reihana’s extraordinary multidisciplinary practice – encompassing film, photography, sculpture, costume, body adornment, and written text – examines the many ways in which identity and history are constructed and represented, and the complex conceptualisation of place and community.
Reihana has an extensive exhibition history in Aotearoa and further afield. In 2017 she represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale with her large-scale video installation in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (2015-17), which reimagines Dufour et Cie’s 19th century wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (The native peoples of the Pacific Ocean). Reihana’s immersive cinematic work weaves together various forms of cultural representation drawn from historical and contemporary sources to re–examine the European narrative of colonisation in the Pacific and is now a seminal work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s art history. in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is currently on display at Te Papa Tongarewa as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, for which Reihana is the 2022 Artist in Focus.
“On the [original] wallpaper is a whole series of imagery based around Pacific people, and I wanted to sort of create a correction about that work. So I think that it’s not just a film about encounters, but an encounter for the audience,” says Reihana.
Lisa Reihana: a resolute search features still images drawn from in Pursuit of Venus [infected] as well as series of individual staged portraits of historical figures who appear throughout Reihana’s monumental moving image work.
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