in Pursuit of Venus

Lisa Reihana

A Space Main Gallery

September 21 – October 26, 2013

Curated by: Julie Nagam

Supported by: A Space and the Province of Ontario

Copresented by: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, VTAPE

A Space is pleased to support the collaboration between imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Vtape in the stunning video installation in Pursuit of Venus by artist Lisa Reihana curated by Julie Nagam. This piece is inspired by the colonial 19th-century panoramic wallpaper Les sauvages de la mer Pacifique (1804-05), which features European impressions of Indigenous South Pacific Islanders. Reihana explains that Les sauvages claims to be historical and is presented as such, when in actuality the wallpaper’s creators harvested information from different historical moments and relocated the bodies into a fictional Tahitian landscape, removing these Pacific people from their cultural, historical and political reality. In this work, Reihana has restaged, reimagined and reclaimed the panoramic wallpaper by altering its original presentation of print form to live-action video. She has brought each character alive with breathtaking precision of Maori and Pacific cultural practices and embodied knowledge. Reihana’s in Pursuit of Venus is a live-action masterwork that unbinds the shackles of colonialism by producing a highly refined and dynamic video that brings forth visual poetics of Maori and Pacific cultures and knowledge.


Lisa Reihana (Maori) graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University in 1987. Her practice includes sculpture, moving image, performance, costume and body adornment, photography, sound and text-based works. She is a leader in the area of installation and time-based works with an extensive exhibition history.

Julie Nagam is a faculty member at OCAD University in the Aboriginal Visual Culture and Liberal Studies and a PhD Candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University. Her research interests are a (re)mapping of a colonial state through creative interventions and currently her artistic practices are focused on an oral sound project of a site-specific area of the city of Toronto. She has conducted research on site-specific locations on the Indigenous history of Toronto, for the Visible Cities Project + Archive in Toronto, Inuit artists in Pangnirtung Nunavut; on rural and northern women artists in Manitoba for Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art; and women’s issues for the Icelandic Center for Feminist Research.