In an outstanding career move, Auckland-based artist Shigeyuki Kihara will encounter one of the world’s foremost art institutions, The Metropolitan Museum of Art when her solo exhibition opens in October.
The exhibition ‘Shigeyuki Kihara: Living Photographs’ is an early survey of her dynamic career and will feature selections from four of her photographic series: ‘Black Sunday’, ‘Fa’a Fafine: In a Manner of a Woman’, ‘Fale Aitu: House of Spirits’ and ‘Vavau: Tales from Ancient Samoa’.
Since 2003, Kihara has exhibited in New Zealand and internationally but after this new exhibition there will be no doubt Kihara has hit the New York art scene.
The Metropolitan Museum is the same venue that hosted the historic Te Maori exhibition in 1984. Twenty-four years later, this young Samoan-born multimedia and performance artist has secured her own wall space in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of the museum.
It will be the first solo exhibition to be held by an artist from New Zealand or the South Pacific region.
Brian Butler, director of ARTSPACE in Auckland isn’t surprised to see Kihara’s work appearing at the Met. “She’s a great artist, full stop.”
“You never know where international support will come from. They were looking at contemporary art in the world and obviously Virginia-Lee Webb [the curator] found it in Kihara’s work” he added.
Along with the exhibition, Kihara will give an artist talk about her work and will perform her enthralling performance piece ‘Taualuga; the last dance’ to a New York audience.
Kihara’s work is full of references to Samoa – whether from history, memories, traditional dance forms, or portrayals of great individuals and characters from legend.
The events will be an important catalyst for her career and Kihara intends to raise awareness of the art, ideas and issues coming from Samoa and indigenous peoples of the South Pacific.
The opening function on 7 October at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will bring together the New York art world along with dignitaries from New Zealand, Samoa and other South Pacific nations.
Independent documentary director Kirsty MacDonald will follow Kihara to New York to document this important encounter.