In 1920, Erich Scheurmann translated into German the speeches of Samoan Chief’ Tuiavii from the village of Tiavea, a work called The Papalagi (The White People) that describes his impressions of European culture formed during a tour as part of a traveling show. Tuiavii’s depictions of the greed and hypocrisy of the civilized Europeans has become a post-hippie inspiration for a counterculture movement to break out of the rigid confines of corporate capitalism.
The Maori People of Tauranga staged a 150-year commemoration of a victory in the last major battle against the British in a losing effort from the New Zealand Wars, that resulted in significant confiscation of their lands and autonomy.
Paul Gauguin, the bourgeois-turned-bohemian artist who left France for Tahiti, reveals a darker, almost menacing mythological vision, in contrast to his exploitative picture-postcard fantasy-native Polynesian paintings for which he is known. The exhibition continues at MoMA in New York until June.