7 October – 10 December 2016
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) presents Collection+: Greg Semu, curated by Mark Feary.
The Collection+ series is conceived as a hybrid project with a specific cross-pollinating purpose. Some 800 works in The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection are scrutinised and assessed by invited curators working in partnership with SCAF’s curatorial team. Each curator selects a single artist from the collection and researches collections nationally and internationally in order to identify significant related works by the same artist.
Collection+: Greg Semu curator Mark Feary has selected works that span the past two decades of Greg Semu’s practice and has contextualised these works within the broader picture of collection building.
The exhibition is presented with a cloak of wallpaper depicting the personal notes, working drawings, sketches and reference points that inform the artist’s cognitive process and provides insight into the creative methodology of developing and producing the work. It also draws on and extracts elements from the Tyrrell Collection, a significant photographic collection of ethnographic works held within a public research-based institution, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney. These photographic reproductions present part of the public record of initial contact between Samoan society and early European explorers, settlers, merchants and missionaries in order to offer perspective on the specific lens through which Samoans were depicted, represented and objectified through the Western gaze.
Greg Semu is an independent indigenous researcher, artist and curator. Born in New Zealand, he embraces Samoa as his ancestral and spiritual home and has travelled the world since his early twenties in search of an authentic identity. Cultural displacement is a key thematic in Semu’s photography and questions concerning home are central to his practice.
Semu has lived in Sydney since 2009, after residing in a range of places including Auckland, London, New York, Paris and Samoa. From September 2014 to September 2015 he lived in Berlin undertaking a twelve-month Creative New Zealand residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. In 2007 Semu was awarded the first artist-in-residence scholarship at the Musée du quai Branly, in Paris. Semu is currently an artist-in-residence at Waverley Artist Studios in Bondi.
Semu’s artworks have been collected by major national and international institutions worldwide including Artbank; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.
Semu has featured in The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2012); was named the winner of the People’s Choice award for the 62nd Blake Prize (2013); exhibited in Personal Structures – Crossing Borders at Palazzo Bembo, during the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (2016). In 2016, Semu had a solo exhibition of new photographic works at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Mark Feary is Artistic Director of Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne. He has over fifteen years experience working within the cultural sector, primarily for public and independent institutions dedicated to the practice and interpretation of contemporary art. He has worked in curatorial roles at the Australian Centre for Photography and Artspace, Sydney, and in Melbourne at the Centre for Contemporary Photography and West Space. Selected curatorial projects include Richard Bell: Imagining Victory, Artspace, Sydney (2013) and touring nationally (2014–16); A Postcard from Afar: North Korea from a Distance, apexart, New York (2012); and South by Southeast: Recent Video Art from Australia and New Zealand, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan (2011).
 Excerpt from Greg Semu: On Nobility and Mobility by Mark Feary. The full version can be found in the Collection+: Greg Semu catalogue.