Yuki Kihara at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
In 2008, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, presented a solo exhibition of Kihara’s work entitled Living Photographs.
It was here where Kihara saw Gauguin paintings for the first time. Recognising aspects of herself and her Fa'afafine community, Kihara formulated the concept of Paradise Camp. Kihara was granted access to the Gauguin wing, prior to visitor entry at dawn. This allowed her to commune with Gauguin’s paintings.
In Kihara’s Si‘ou alofa Maria: Hail Mary (After Gauguin) (2020), she repurposes and upcycles Gauguin’s Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary) into a Sāmoan setting and casts Fa‘afafine activist Vaito‘a Toelupe in the role of Mary. In addition, Kihara’s Two Fa’afafine (After Gauguin) (2020) upcycles Gauguin’s Two Tahitians.