Pacificdocs

Recognising creative talent in the Pacific Island diaspora

Shigeyuki Kihara November 4, 2009

Shigeyuki Kihara is a multimedia and performance artist who uses photography to explore themes of representation, spirituality, performativity, and gender.

For ‘Fa‛a fafine: In a Manner of a Woman’ (2005) exhibited at Sherman Galleries in Sydney, Kihara uses her own body to reconstruct the colonial gaze preserved as ‘ethnographic’ imagery. She undermines the scheme of Western classifications including gender by portraying both a male and female subject. These works speak of Kihara’s own identity and status as a Samoan and as a fa‛a fafine. Fa‛a fafine, understood as the ‘third gender’ in Western interpretation, are an accepted part of the Samoan social fabric. By taking ownership of the image, Kihara challenges orientalist clichés composed in colonial photographs of Samoans.

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