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In the Western world today, the dichotomy between man and woman, male and female is often taken for granted. In many parts of the world, and, in fact, during other periods in Western history, the two-sex, two-gender model was not the norm. Originally this group was comprised of biologically born men who lived as women. In these three pieces, Kihara poses herself in scenes based on colonial photographs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second image shows Kihara in the same pose, only now completely naked.
The South Seas, as they were often known before the twentieth century, have long held a place in the imagination — as an exotic, carefree paradise in which the restrictions of Western society no longer apply. Such a construction has only been encouraged and reinforced by the makers of visual images. Samoa was a busy, much-visited place in the decades around It was on the shipping route as a refuelling stop between Australia and the United States, a tourist destination, a trading centre, and a political hot spot in the tensions between Germany, the United States and Britain over colonial control. There was money to be made in the sale of take-home images of the Pacific by the two resident photographers, Andrew and John Davis and later A J Tattersall, when he took over from Davis around
This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded. You can order records in advance to be ready for you when you visit Kew. You will need a reader's ticket to do this. Or, you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you. Form completed: 2 November