Greg Semu: The Battle of the Noble Savage - Art Collector

Greg Semu, 6. Battle of the Noble Savage, 2007. Hahnemuhle photo rag, 100 x 100cm, edition of 10. Courtesy: the artist and Two Rooms, Auckland

During his stay as inaugural artist in residence at the Musee du Quai Branly, Paris during 2007, New Zealand/Samoan artist Greg Semu was invited to respond to a poster gifted to Quai Branly that commemorates the All Black’s 2006 tour of France and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The poster depicts the All Blacks performing their signature haka in a mystical tropical rainforest with ancestral Maori figures silhouetted in the foliage.

In an act of subversion Semu borrowed from and merged the genres of history and portrait painting, staging elaborate fictitious scenes of Maori warriors engaged in battle against a backdrop of native forest, casting Maori as both colonizer and colonized. These orchestrated tableaux are layered with visual and historical references to the New Zealand and European wars of the same period and expose the romanticised veneer of Gustav von Tempsky’s New Zealand Wars paintings.

Opening: 6pm Thursday 22 August 2013
Exhibition closes: 28 September 2013
Location: Two Rooms, 16 Putiki Street, Newton, Auckland
Contact: +64 9 360 5900

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