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EXPLORE: Lisa Reihana

Note to Teachers: 
Please scan all material to determine whether it is appropriate for your students. 

Information and resources were compiled by Wendi Oster, Visual Arts Specialist at Platte Valley Middle School in Kersey, Colorado.


“Once you see something, you can’t unsee it.

Once you know something, you can’t unknow it.” 

- Lisa Reihana, Berkley Center for New Media

How Can a Maori Girl Recolonise the Screen Using Mighty Pixels  (42:12)

“There’s a lot of knowledge that we need to share, and any opportunities to retain relationships should be taken.”

- Lisa Reihana


Lisa Reihana is a contemporary artist from New Zealand of Maori descent.  She works through film, sculpture, body adornment, text, and photography to examine themes of history and identity. Lisa utilizes modern photographic and cinema media to create narratives that investigate representations of self, past histories, and the intersections of place and community. Large scale installations of video, such as In Pursuit of Venus, explore the intricacies of cultural identity and colonization. Her works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, and Yinchuan Biennale. As an indigenous person, Lisa honors the importance of story, history, and voice through seeking permission and active collaboration with individuals who authentically connect to the narratives being shared. Her 2017 work “In Pursuit of Venus” is a digital recreation of images found on French wallpaper designed by Jean-Gabriel Charvet  in 1804-1805. The wallpaper and accompanying pamphlet shows European voyages to the Pacific including that of Captain James Cook from a colonizer’s viewpoint.  Reihana reimagines the stories from a Maori and Pacific perspective.

Artist Website 

Lisa Reihana


In Pursuit of Venus Website

In Pursuit of Venus

The “info” section has helpful resources including a Venice Biennale overview, a video excerpt from In pursuit of Venus, a thorough artist statement, and links to artists talks. 

Articles and Reviews

Lisa Reihana: Emissaries
A review of  Reihana ‘s installation as representative of New Zealand in the 2017 Venice Biennale (eflux, March 22, 2016) 

In Pursuit of Venus 
The “info” section has helpful resources including a Venice Biennale overview, a video excerpt from In pursuit of Venus, a thorough artist statement, and links to artists talks. 

Selected links on the site:
Behind the Scenes 
Artist Talks 
Media Article

Art Guide Australia
This article provides context and background to “ In Pursuit of Venus.” 
(Dow, S. 2016) 



Lisa Reihana takes in Pursuit of Venus [infected] to Venice: Podcast

Lisa Reihana discusses her artwork before the Venice Biennale and the motivation behind it.

(Standing Room Only, 2015)


 Lisa Reihana, "How Can a Maori Girl Recolonise the Screen Using Mighty Pixels"

This lengthy video highlights several pieces of Reihana’s works. It provides the background  of the work and the artist’s thoughts. Excerpts provide a chance for students to see a different side of the stories. The Questions and Answers at the end are an informative look at artistic process

Berkeley Center for New Media, ATC Lecture (2022)


Global Feminism

This artists talk accompanied a show of eighty female artists from around the world working from 1990-2207 shown at the Brooklyn Museum,  Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, (March 24, 2007).

Topics for Further Inquiry

European exploration in the 1700’s, James Cook, film/cinematography as a media, sound and visual art

Themes and Keywords for Instructional Units



Differing Perspectives

Historical and Contemporary Stereotypes

Reimagining History

Absent Narratives

Appropriation reimagining


Bill Viola


Additional Resources

This overview of Captain James Cook life and death presents two sides of his controversial legacy

Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique, 1804–05.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art site displays the French wall paper designed in 1804-5 by Jean-Gabriel Charvet, 1750 – 1829 and an accompanying pamphlet printed by Joseph Dufour 1797 – 1835 that Reihana used for her video, “In Pursuit of Venus.”  The viewpoint of the artist and author can be contrasted with Reihana’s.

Bill Viola’s influence and film/cinematography as a media

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