‘Der Papālagi (The White Man)’ screens in Samoa


Video still from ‘Der Papālagi (The White Man)’ [2016] by Yuki Kihara

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 01 DECEMBER 2016: Interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara will present free public screenings of her 11 minute video entitled Der Papālagi (The White Man) on Samoa’s largest digital billboard located above Maxkar Stationary in Savalalo, Upolu Island, Independent State of Samoa. The public screening of Der Papālagi (The White Man) is the first presentation held in Samoa.

A native of Samoa, Yuki Kihara is an Interdisciplinary artist whose work explores themes of indigeneity, spirituality, post colonialism, stereotypes, gender roles, and consumerism.

The title of the new video work Der Papālagi (The White Man), comes from a book written by Erich Scheurmann, a German national who lived in Samoa during the German colonial administration of the country (1900 – 1914). Published in 1920, it contains descriptions of European life seen through the eyes of Tuiavii, a Samoan chief. The book was widely criticised however, after it was discovered that Scheurmann had created the character of Tuiavii and that the descriptions were in fact his own social commentary.

Papālagi is used to describe non-Samoans or anything considered not indigenous to Samoa or Samoan culture. Kihara’s video work filmed in Samoa is a response to Erich Scheurmann’s book and features a public performance presented as a social experiment in which Christian and Barbara Durst – German migrants who have lived in Samoa for over 24 years “go native”. Dressed in full indigenous Samoan regalia, they make public appearances in five locations in and around the capital city of Apia.

The varied reactions of the public to the couple are captured in video and raises questions around Samoan nationalism and the politics of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ while exploring the ethical boundaries between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.

The public is cordially invited to join Yuki Kihara at the opening night reception/venissage to celebrate the free public screening of Der Papālagi (The White Man) held at Maxkar Stationary in Saleufi on Friday 2nd December 2016 between 6pm til 8pm. The opening reception will feature a public reading of a chapter published in Scheurmann’s book recited by Christian Durst, one of the models in the video. Light refreshments will be served on the opening night.

In addition, the free screening of Der Papālagi (The White Man) will be screened on repeat between 6pm till 8pm daily from Saturday 3rd till Tuesday 6th December 2016.

Der Papālagi (The White Man) is Rated G by the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, the Government of Samoa.

The Artist would like to thank Nicholas Pereira from Maxkar Stationary; Alex Su’a; Her Excellency Jackie Frizell, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa for their generous support towards the presentation of Der Papālagi (The White Man) in Samoa. Der Papālagi (The White Man) was made with the support of Creative New Zealand through the Government of New Zealand.