Greg Semu is an interdisciplinary artist of Samoan heritage who was born and raised in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Semu’s first-hand experience of displacement has imbued him with empathy for other First Nations peoples.
BLOOD RED brings together a body of new, large-scale photographic works completed in Coen, a remote Indigenous community in Cape York, Far North Queensland. Working in consultation with Coen artist Naomi Hobson and traditional owners from the Coen region and in close collaboration with community elders, teachers, police, stockmen and actors, Semu and Hobson negotiated a dialogue with displaced peoples of Coen and beyond. His project renders tangible archival and remembered testimony of their experience as a chorus of silent injustice that challenges colonisers’ accounts of Australian history. Semu has worked like a filmmaker, zeroing in on, re-enacting and upscaling as gigantic photographs the brutal evidence of Coen’s frontier wars for the purpose of remembering the past and acknowledging present injustice and discrimination.
BLOOD RED is an initiative of the Cairns Art Gallery and is supported by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
Image: GREG SEMU, Native Police Tracker Hut 2 2016/2017, 120 x 195 cm, pigment print on art paper © Greg Semu. Courtesy the artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
This exhibition includes themes of racial violence. Visitors may find some images disturbing. It is recommended that a responsible adult accompany younger viewers.