Greg Semu


15 Apr –
12 Jun 2016

Greg Semu has a 20-year career that includes numerous international residencies and exhibitions. Born in 1971 in New Zealand, Semu now lives and works in Sydney and has recently returned from a residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien studio in Berlin. His work will be the subject of a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria later this year.

“12” brings together recent works by Semu that have been acclaimed for their excellent production values, dramatic lighting and elaborate costuming and settings. Together they challenge commonly held beliefs and historical ‘truths’ in order to raise questions of what is fact and what is fiction.

Semu uses photography and film to create contemporary images that are informed by historical facts and moments in time. Based on iconic artworks, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper (c1495), and Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa (1819), the artist meticulously re-enacts and re-creates the images, in order to provide alternative readings of historical episodes that aim to explore and question issues of cultural displacement and the impact of colonialism on Pacific cultures.

Semu’s work is represented in major national and international collections, including Musée du Quai Branly, Paris; the National Gallery of Australia; and the National Gallery of Victoria


The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji as the Traditional Owners of the area today known as Cairns. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.