Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land)

Yuki Kihara's evocative panoramic installation, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa - Fanua (Land), on view at Milford Galleries Dunedin, 27 March–19 April 2021, Aotearoa/NZ.

Date 1 April 2021 Words ART Paper imagery SUPPLIED

The Apia Town Clock Tower has been toppled, crashing into a bejewelled resort where the beach is engulfed by the tide. A bull charges the landscape whilst an overblown manumea bird (tooth-billed pigeon) looks out to a murky ocean. A wry dolphin swims by, tangled in a net that springs out from the surface on which it is painted. 

Kihara’s fictitious scenes are peak chaos, challenging the golden promises of commerce and mourning environmental degradation. In a recent interview discussing this project, サモアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa, the artist refers to the term “aidscape” — coined by development studies scholar Masami Tsujita of the National University of Samoa. She remarks on the irony that many aid countries, including Japan, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia, are irrevocably changing the landscape of countries like Samoa through excessive emission of CO2 that triggers climate change and recedes land through rising tides. 

The bull, whose skin and horns are peppered with beads, is a symbol of capitalism (reminiscent of the Charging Bull sculpture by Arturo Di Modica near Wall Street) and has also recently been exported to Samoa to stimulate the agricultural industry, spreading imported invasive weeds through excretion. These weeds are competing for space with indigenous plants that have historically been used as medicines on the island.

The exhibition displays the first two phases, 10 of 20 kimonos, in a four-part series that will be exhibited in its entirety at Milford Galleries later this year. 

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 2 of 5 (detail), 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 2 of 5, 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 4 of 5, 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 5 of 5, 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 1 of 5, 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 3 of 5, 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 3 of 5 (detail), 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 3 of 5 (detail), 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

Yuki Kihara, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Fanua (Land) Part 5 of 5 (detail), 2021, Samoan siapo, textiles, beads, shells, plastic; kimonos: 1750 x 1410 x 250 mm each.

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