Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi-Ngāti Hine-Ngāi Tū-Te Auru) is among the most renowned contemporary artists from Aotearoa New Zealand. Reihana's extraordinary multidisciplinary practice – encompassing film, photography, sculpture, costume, body adornment, and written text – examines the many ways in which identity and history are constructed and represented, and the complex conceptualisation of place and community.
Reihana has an extensive exhibition history in Aotearoa and further afield. In 2017 she represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale with her large-scale video installation in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (2015-17), which reimagines Dufour et Cie’s 19th century wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (The native peoples of the Pacific Ocean),Reihana’s immersive cinematic work weaves together various forms of cultural representation drawn from historical and contemporary sources to re-examine the European narrative of colonisation in the Pacific and is now a seminal work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s art history. in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is currently on display at Te Papa Tongarewa as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, for which Reihana is the 2022 Artist in Focus.
“On the [original] wallpaper is a whole series of imagery based around Pacific people, and I wanted to sort of create a correction about that work. So I think that it’s not just a film about encounters, but an encounter for the audience,” says Reihana.
Other exhibitions include Unnatural History, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry (2021); Toi Tu Toi Ora Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki: Auckland(2020); In the Shadow of Venus - Lisa Reihana and Pacific Taonga, MARKK Museum am Rothemburg, Hamburg (2020) Nirin Sydney Biennale Cockatoo Island: Sydney (2020); Southern Transmissions: Contemporary Video Art From Oceania, Duolun Museum of Modern Art Centre, Shanghai (2020); Leaving the Echo Chamber Sharjah Biennale 14, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2019); Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists, Auckland Art Gallery - Toi o Tamaki: Auckland (2019); Oceania, Royal Academy, London, England (2018); Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists, Te Papa Tongarewa: Wellington (2018); Tai Whetuki – House of Death Redux, The Walters Prize 2016, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland (2016); Suspended Histories, Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam (2013); Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2011); Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2007); and Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific, Asia Society Museum, New York (2004).
Reihana has received numerous awards and residencies, including an Arts Laureate Award by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand (2014), Te Tohu Toi Ke Te Waka Toi Maori Arts Innovation Award from Creative New Zealand (2015), and is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2018). Her works are held in private and public collections including Te Papa Tongarewa; Auckland Art Gallery; Australia National Gallery; Staatliche Museum, Berlin; Susan O'Connor Foundation, Texas; Brooklyn Museum, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; AGO, Toronto; de Young Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco; and Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Born in 1964 in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau, Reihana gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts (1987) and a Master of Design from School of Visual Art and Design, Unitec Institute of Technology (2014). Reihana is a core member of the Pacific Sisters, an indigenous collective that emerged out of Auckland in the 1990s, and which brought the lives of a New Zealand–born Pacific generation into the mainstream through fashion and performance.
Page Galleries will be showing Lisa Reihana: a resolute search in February 2022. The exhibition will include a series of portraits of figures that appear throughout in the Pursuit of Venus [infected].