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Lisa Reihanna


2023 | Extracts Gallery Sally Dan Cuthbert: Sydney, Australia
2021 | Unnatural History Herbert Art Gallery: Coventry UK
2020 | Nirin Sydney Biennale Cockatoo Island: Sydney, Australia
2020 | A Sea of Islands – Masterpieces from Oceania Museum Volkenkunde: Leiden, Holland
2019 | in Pursuit of Venus [infected] Art Gallery of Ontario: Ontario, Canada
2019 | Toronto Biennale Toronto: Canada
2019 | Cosmopolis Georges Pompidou Centre: Paris, France
2019 | Leaving the Echo Chamber Sharjah Biennale 14, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
2018 | APT-9 QAGOMA: Brisbane Australia
2017 | Lisa Reihana: Emissaries Biennale Arte 2017: Venice, Italy


Artistic Concept

Name of artworks : Nomads of the Sea

Media : video

Year : 2019


Lisa Reihana’s artwork Nomads of the Sea stands as a pivotal chapter in her long-term artistic project In Pursuit of Venus [infected], intricately interweaving colonialism, culture, and gender. This work narrates the societal tensions among cultural leadership, spiritual customs, and self-desire during the 19th century when New Zealand faced external political challenges. Through a guide capable of freely transitioning gender, viewers are granted a glimpse into the journey of a woman fleeing the Western world, how she entered a tribe under the protection of a Maori chief, subverted traditions, flipped the traditional roles and symbols of Maori women, and further introduced Western materialism and spoils of war that empowered the tribe with military might to rival Western colonial forces. 

Employing contemporary digital techniques such as performance, photography, installations, videos, and animation, the artwork seamlessly merges traditional Maori narratives and symbols with modern elements. It transcends temporal and spatial boundaries, vividly portraying the daily lives of the Maori people in meticulous detail, encompassing their traditional attire, cuisine, dwellings, and craftsmanship. The exquisite detailing, coupled with the sounds of nature intermittently echoing in the background, bring the characters and landscapes in the artwork to life, as if the audience is immersed in the islands of the Pacific, experiencing the story through their own sensory perception.