Greg Semu, New Zealand/Australia b.1971 | Auto portrait with 12 disciples (from ‘The Last Cannibal Supper . . . cause tomorrow we become Christians’ series) 2010, reprinted 2012 | Digital print on PVC canvas, light box, ed. of 10 | © Greg Semu | Image courtesy: The artist and Galerie Metropolis, Paris
Greg Semu | Untitled (from ‘The Battle of the Noble Savage’ series) 2007, reprinted 2012 | Digital print on PVC canvas, light box, ed. of 10 | © musée du quai Branly, Paris | Photograph: Greg Semu | Image courtesy: The artist and Galerie Metropolis, Paris
b.1971, Auckland, New Zealand
Lives and works in Sydney, Australia
Location: GOMA 3.3 and 3.4
Greg Semu’s self-portraits enable him to engage with wider conversations about Pacific history, diaspora and issues of representation. The finely chiselled and intricate lines of his Samoan tatau (tattoo) armour tell of Semu’s personal and cultural narratives. His meticulously composed images, with their rich colour and penchant for theatricality, are also a critique of the historical use of photography to document Pacific people. Semu’s ‘The Battle of the Noble Savage’ series ‘re-enacts’ scenes from fictitious battles, directly referencing French history paintings such as Jacques Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps 1800–01, to reconsider aspects of Pacific history. Semu further developed this interest in subsequent series produced in Taiwan and New Caledonia, where he collaborated with local indigenous people to recreate imagery of key Western events.