Greg Semu - The Raft of the Tagata Pasifika (People of the Pacific) 2017
The Raft of the Tagata Pasifika (People of the Pacific) is Semu’s most recent and ambitious project to date, whereby he has assigned himself the task of questioning the fact or fiction of the painterly recorded history of colonisation by referencing two culturally significant paintings: first, Theodore Géricault's 1819 masterwork, The Raft of the Medusa and secondly, The Arrival of the Māoris in New Zealand, 1898 by English-born Louis John Steele and New Zealander Charles F. Goldie. Grasping photography’s traditional perception as a device for representing truth, Semu has photographically recreated the epic sea voyage using residents of the Cook Islands; consequently fusing and appropriating ideals from the two referenced paintings to cement art historically and for the first time an often shared Māori depiction of the true events surrounding their ancestors’ arrival in New Zealand.
‘I want my images to be iconic and significant in a world sense, tribulation to the collaboration of the displaced, frozen and distilled in a frame: testaments that transcend geography and generations, transfiguring the ambiguous power and affirmation of photography and art.’
- Greg Semu
The Raft of the Tagata Pasifika (People of the Pacific) was exhibited at the NGV International, Melbourne from 10 June to 11 September 2016. Alcaston Gallery is thrilled to present the complete series commercially for the first time.
Image: Greg Semu, The Raft, 2014-2016, Digital C-type print
© Greg Semu and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne