Julian Hooper

Julian Hooper / New Zealand, b.1966 / The Count transformed (from 'Liliu' series) 2007 / Watercolour and collage on paper / Purchased 2008 with funds from the Estate of Lawrence F King in memory of the late Mr and Mrs S.W. King through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

The watercolour images that constitute Julian Hooper's 'Liliu' series recount the amorous and financial undertakings of his ancestor, Count Gideon Vecsey, who arrived in Fiji in 1870. 'Liliu' means 'to change' or 'transform' in the Tongan language. The series offers an imaginative insight into early Europeans' experiences in Polynesia and allows Hooper to engage with some of the continued issues that pervade representations of the region, including questions of indigeneity, acculturation and the persistence of stereotypes.

The Count returns (from 'Liliu' series) 2007 references Edouard Manet's iconic painting Olympia 1865, although reversing the relationships between black and white, servant and master. In Maafu and Vecsey, Count Vecsey is shown standing on an outrigger alongside the Tongan Prince Enele Ma'afu'atuitoga, ruler of the Lau island group (off Fiji). The Hungarian Vecsey leased the land from Ma'afu for his cotton plantation 'Tota' on Bucalevu.