Culture for Sale at City Gallery Wellington

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Media Release: Janurary, 2014. 

One of New Zealand’s leading performance artists, Shigeyuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist who is a native of Samoa whose work 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. Kihara’s new exhibition Culture for Sale opens on Saturday 1 February.


Culture for Sale consists of a live performance and interactive video installation informed by the groups of 19th century Samoan men, women and small children who toured around Germany as part of a ‘human zoo’. Commonly known as ‘Völkerschau’, this practice was a popular form of exotic entertainment and colonial theatre in the 1800s. Culture for Sale also aims to raise questions regarding the commercialization of Samoan culture in the postcolonial era.


Kihara’s first solo museum exhibition in North America entitled Shigeyuki Kihara; Living Photographs (2008-09) was presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA. Kihara’s second solo museum exhibition in the US was presented at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in 2013. Kihara’s works and performances have been presented at the Asia-Pacific Triennial; Auckland Triennial and the Sakahàn Quinquennial.


Culture for Sale has been previously presented at the National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne (2010); Campbelltown Arts Center, Sydney (2012) and Rautenstrauch Joest Museum, Cologne (2014). The presentation of Culture for Sale at City Gallery is the first in New Zealand.


On Saturday 22 February from 1pm – 3pm, there will be a free Culture for Sale forum with Shigeyuki Kihara and Dr Mandy Treagus of the University of Adelaide, which will explore the themes surrounding the exhibition.


You can watch the ‘Making of Culture for Sale’ here.


Culture for Sale is supported by Pasifika Art Residency, Massey University College of Creative Arts (CoCA). Culture for Sale forum is presented in partnership with Pasifika Art Residency, College of Creative Arts Massey University; Va'aomanū Pasifika - Programmes in Pacific Studies and Samoan Studies, Victoria University of Wellington and Faculty of Arts, Whitireia New Zealand.


Shigeyuki Kihara: Culture for Sale
1 February 2014 – 30 March 2014
City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square
Free Entry
citygallery.org.nz