23 May 2013
New Zealand artist Shigeyuki Kihara has been selected for an international indigenous art exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). Opening on 17 May, Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art is one of the National Gallery of Canada's most ambitious contemporary art exhibitions to date.
Kihara will be represented by the work 'Fa'afafine: In the Manner of a Woman' - on loan from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Kihara was the first New Zealand artist to have a solo exhibition in 2008.
Featuring some 150 artworks by over 75 artists from around the world, Kihara is one of only six New Zealand artists to be featured in the Sakahàn quinquennial, joining Brett Graham, Fiona Pardington, Michael Parekowhai, Rachael Rakena and Taika Waititi. International artists of note included in the exhibition include Vernon Ah Kee (Australia), Regina José Galindo (Guatemala) and Wangechi Mutu (United States).
Sakahàn means "to light a fire" in the language of the Algonquin peoples of North America. An internationally significant event, the exhibition promises to be poetic, unexpected and challenging; its diverse international line up intends to celebrate and interrogate distinct cultural, political and social moments experienced by indigenous peoples.
The exhibition has been curated by Greg Hill, NGC Audain Curator of Indigenous Art; Christine Lalonde, NGC Associate Curator of Indigenous Art; and Candice Hopkins, NGC Elizabeth Simonfay Guest Curator.
In a collaborative effort, the NGC's curatorial team worked with an international advisory committee to bring together artists from countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Greenland, Guatemala, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, Taiwan and the United States. The artists' approaches are as varied as their chosen media, which include performance art, drawing, installations, painting, photography, sculpture and video. Several new works will be created specifically for the exhibition.
Kihara's inclusion in Sakahàn directly follows the opening of a mid-career survey exhibition, Undressing the Pacific, spanning more than a decade of her career at the Hocken Library (April – June 2013) and an international research symposium focused on Kihara’s creative work hosted by the Department of History & Art History (4 May 2013); both held at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
The exhibition is a first for the NGC, but the Canadian public gallery has a strong commitment to local and international indigenous artists, and acknowledges that indingeous art has been an important part of their national collection for over 50 years.
The exhibition runs from 17 May to 2 September 2013.