City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

Shigeyuki Kihara: Culture for Sale

1 February–30 March 2014

In 2011, Samoan artist Shigeyuki Kihara travelled to Germany to explore museum archives relating to the German administration of Samoa between 1900 and 1914. There, Kihara learned about the Völkerschau, a popular form of colonial entertainment, where Samoan men, women, and children were displayed to European audiences as part of a ‘human zoo’. Kihara’s Culture for Sale brings the Völkerschau into the current post-colonial moment, to address the legacies of such practices, especially in the on-going commercial exploitation of Samoan culture and people. The work consists of live performances and a video installation. In the performances, traditionally attired dancers perform when money is placed in a bowl at their feet. With the video installation, similarly attired performers dance when money is deposited into a coin slot, the financial exchange supposedly implicating viewer and Gallery.