Fa‘afafine with children (After Gauguin), 2020
Hahnemühle fine art paper mounted on aluminium
97.1 × 74.2 cm
Fa‘afafine Tiara Tu‘ulua sits on a timber rocking chair with her son Joshua across her lap and her daughter Blessing nearby clutching a teddy bear. Verdant foliage frames this compelling image set in the village of Amaile on Upolu Island, Sāmoa.
A midwife, Tiara adopted her children, even though they were born prematurely and were perceived to be compromised in health terms, and so, potentially burdensome. Resplendent in a blue, patterned dress and garland of flowers, Tiara is a mother and motherly, caring and careful, as denoted in the title Fa‘afafine with children (After Gauguin). She is both poised and gazing at the camera directly with the gravitas and sanctity of assured motherhood. Yet, on the children’s birth certificate, Tiara, the devoted mother, is described as the ‘father’.
Yuki Kihara discusses Paul Gauguin, Fa‘afafine and Paradise Camp
Place in my home
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In Gauguin’s paintings, Kihara noticed uncanny similarities to Fa’afafine. In Paradise Camp, Kihara upcycles Gauguin’s works using Fa‘afafine models to represent her own vision of Paradise.