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Shigeyuki Kihara

The last dance

Taualuga: The Last Dance is Shigeyuki Kihara’s interpretation of the taualuga, a Samoan dance of negotiation and celebration. The work was originally conceived as a performance and later presented as a video. The dance becomes a form of storytelling, which conveys political ideas related to Samoa’s colonial history and the Mau movement. From 1908, the Mau asserted Western Samoa's claim to independence from its colonial rulers, Germany (1900–14) and New Zealand (1914–62). The Victorian mourning dress, seen in this video, was introduced to Samoa by the German administration.

Kihara describes this work as a tribute to the resistance of the Samoan people to globalisation. The video illustrates her practice of using performance to explore ideas about the body, Pacific history, and Pacific culture.

This text was prepared for the Collecting Contemporary exhibition February 2012.

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