Auto portrait with 12 Disciples, from The Last Cannibal Supper, Cause Tomorrow We Become Christians
New Caledonia/New Zealand (2010)
Digital C-Type Print
Independent Indigenous Researcher, Curator and Artist Greg Semu, born New Zealand 1971, embraces Samoa as his ancestral and spiritual home. The theme of cultural displacement in the Pacific is a river that runs strongly through Semu’s artwork. His major oeuvre of photographs have community engagement and research as a starting point and often include auto portraits and the underlying Samoan Va – the vast oceans that separate the nations unite rather than divide. Semu uses the visual languages of photography and film to explore the significance of identity and create evocative dialogues to challenge the romanticised Colonialist documentation of ‘first contact’ with the tribal worlds. By using mediums so synonymous with presenting truth and reality to re-enact historic and art historically significant moments, Semu seduces the viewer to challenge preconceived notions of history.
Funny how the poly/austronesian guy is in the position of Jesus when the Melanesians settled the pacific long before and were also assailed and conquered by migrating austronesians. I get how this work challenges European colonial concepts but I don’t think it’s aware of the anti black themes that come into play here that are rooted in a history before European colonialism. And if ppl don’t find this relevant, check the current genocide in West Papua.
I viewed it more as gifting the pig to the New Caledonian people sitting there.. And he’s Samoan not Indonesian so I don’t know how that relates to genocide in West Papua.. I get the saviour vibe off it too which could denote anti-blackness.. But it is based off the last supper and Greg is supposed to symbolise Jesus in it. Also no one uses the term Austronesian anymore, unless it’s for linguistic purposes because it’s such a generalised term for a large group of people… But I do agree that anti-blackness exists in the pacific prior colonisation.. I just can’t see it in this photo..