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Photographer awarded Creative New Zealand Berlin residency

6 March 2014

Photographer awarded Creative New Zealand Berlin residency

New Zealand-born Samoan photographer Greg Semu will spend a year in Berlin as this year’s recipient of the Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Residency.

The residency, at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, includes the rental of an apartment in the heart of Berlin, a stipend of $40,000 and travel costs. Creative New Zealand will also cover the cost of a Künstlerhaus Bethanien studio and provide support for an exhibition.

Semu’s work is in major national and international collections, including Musée du Quai Branly, Paris; the National Gallery of Australia; the National Gallery of Victoria and Te Papa Tongarewa. He creates highly stylised portraits and tableaux, exploring issues of cultural displacement and the impact of colonialism on Pacific cultures.

While in Berlin, he will research German Samoa and ‘’the colonial encounter’’ to create a new series of photographs. He will also investigate creating video and installations from his still photography.

“This is a unique opportunity to research and mine the historical treasures reflecting ‘colonial’ Samoa held in German institutions, museums and galleries,” Semu says. “It also offers the prospect of a long-term relationship based on a shared ancestral collision of life-changing genealogies and futures.’’

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien provides one of Europe’s largest international residency programmes for artists. As well as giving the selected artists the chance to experience a new culture and new ideas, the residency will raise awareness of New Zealand visual arts in Berlin.

Previous recipients are: Peter Robinson; Michael Stevenson; Ronnie van Hout; Mladen Bizumic; Sara Hughes; Alicia Frankovich and Ben Cauchi.

The Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Berlin Residency runs from September 2014 to August 2015. It alternates with the biennial Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer’s Residency.

For further information on Greg Semu

Greg Semu is represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Creative New Zealand is the national arts development agency developing, investing in and advocating for the arts.


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