APT7 Artist Profile – Greg Semu


PERIL: Can you describe some of the artworks you are exhibiting at APT7?

GREG: Essentially I am exhibiting a selection of photographs, 4 to be precise. They represent a snap shot survey of thematic work I have been developing from 2007 to 2010 with the support and assistance of artist residencies offered by various international institutions & cultural centres. They are either fictitious historical reeanctments of the colonial wars with indigenous resistance* or deliberate re-appropriation of Christian religious iconography as a provocation.**

A photographic based installation of light boxes with an additional sound component commissioned by QAG & GOMA for this years APT7.

*(The Battle of the Noble Savage © Musé Quai Branly & Greg Semu 2007)
**( The Last Cannibal Supper © Greg Semu 2010)

PERIL: What are some of the ideas behind your art practice?

GREG: I am very interested in the historical effects of colonisation resulting in cultural and economical displacement and demoralisation of the oppressed. Early and current anthropological and ethnographical propaganda employed to represent indigenous peoples amongst academia paradigms. Also interested with working with minority communities providing access to the arts and participation to those who would normally be excluded from the experience. Minimal digital effects have been applied choosing to approach these tableaus like making a film with all the cast on location and shot together.

PERIL: Can you talk a bit about photography as fiction, and how you use this as a medium to reinterpret cultural history?

GREG: Photography is a cross platform for the convergence of multiple mediums and ideas. Actors, performers, wardobe, art department, crafts, hair & make up, etc. A powerful medium to communicate visually thoughts, ideas and grievances navigating dialogue, conversation and imagination.

I insisted on working with indigenous people of the hosting artist residency creating opportunities for communities to participate in a joint project. History has a strangle hold on the future be it correct or fiction. Through theatrical reenactments and the language of art, the modern generation of the demoralized and displaced can re?evaluate previous preconceived rhetoric, and through informed eyes and imagination release the strangle hold and empower themselves to reclaim alternative interpretations of colonial history, resulting in a positive future outcome of today.


Greg Semu is exhibiting at The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7), 8 December 2012 —  14 April 2013, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG). Free admission.

Owen Leong

Author: Owen Leong

Owen Leong, Peril Visual Arts Editor, is a contemporary artist and curator. He is currently undertaking his PhD at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Owen uses the human body as a medium to interrogate social, cultural and political forces. He has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally including Chicago, Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai and Singapore. Owen has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Art Gallery of NSW and Asialink. He has held residencies at Artspace, Sydney; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester; Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; and Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan. Leong’s work is held in the Bendigo Art Gallery collection and private collections across Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Visit him at www.owenleong.com

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