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Past Event

Saturday University Artist Talk: Performing Paradise, Finding Sanctuaries

Dec 10 2022

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Emma Baillargeon Stimson Auditorium

4 PM – 5:30 PM

This month, the Saturday University Lecture series presents an artist talk by interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara. Kihara is an artist of Japanese and Samoan descent who identifies as a Fa’afafine—a traditional third gender in Samoa.

Her exhibition, Paradise Camp, on view at the 2022 Venice Biennale, casts a critical light on the Western longing for paradise across the Samoan archipelago that masks a history of colonial violence perpetuated by the West itself. Kihara creates her own interpretation of paradise while centering her Samoan Fa’afafine community with humor, joy, and resilience. Kihara also explores the unseen histories of the island, questions gender equality, and surfaces the idea of belonging seen from the indigenous perspective by “upcycling” the paintings of Paul Gauguin. Paradise Camp also unravels the impact of climate change on this idyllic land and reveals a portrait of the rapidly changing Samoan ecological landscape.

Join us on December 10 for this virtual talk, either from your home or with us at the Asian Art Museum, with artist Yuki Kihara, followed by a discussion with Pam McClusky, Oliver E. and Pamela F. Cobb Curator of African and Oceanic Art.

Yuki Kihara

Yuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist of Japanese and Samoan descent whose work seeks to challenge dominant and historical narratives through visual arts, dance, and curatorial practice, engaging with postcolonial history and representation in the Pacific and how they intersect with race, gender, spirituality, and sexual politics. Kihara lives and works in Samoa, where she has been based for the last 11 years.

Kihara had a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008), and her work can also be found in collections, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the British Museum, the National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. Kihara’s works have been presented at the Asia Pacific Triennial (2002 & 2015); Sakaha`n Quinquennial (2013); Honolulu Biennale (2017); Bangkok Art Biennale (2018); Aichi Triennale (2022) and the forthcoming Gwangju Biennale (2023). Kihara’s critically acclaimed exhibition Paradise Camp, curated by Natalie King, presented at the Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale 2022, will next be on view at the Powerhouse Museum, Gadigal land, Sydney, in 2023.

Admission to the galleries is provided with the purchase of a ticket, starting at 3 pm. This is a hybrid event. Tickets for both online and in-person viewing are $5 for general audiences and $3 for SAM members and students with ID.
Saturday University lectures are organized by the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas in collaboration with the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.
Two Fa‘afafine on the beach (After Gauguin), 2020, Image courtesy of Yuki Kihara and Milford Galleries, Aotearoa New Zealand

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM