Paradise Camp

Location marker iconUltimoTime iconOn Now – 4 Feb 2024

Paradise Camp was created by Yuki Kihara and curated by Natalie King. It comprises a suite of twelve tableau photographs in saturated colour, situated against a vast wallpaper of a landscape decimated by the 2009 tsunami. Eleven of the works were shot on location in Sāmoa, from rural villages to churches, plantations and heritage sites, with a local cast and crew of over eighty people.

Yuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist of Japanese and Sāmoan descent whose work interrogates and dismantles gender roles, (mis)representation and colonial legacies in the Pacific. She was the first Pasifika, Asian and Fa‘afafine (Sāmoa’s ‘third gender’) artist to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at la Biennale di Venezia.

I’m inspired by Powerhouse Museum’s Pacific collections and look forward to presenting new works as part of the Paradise Camp exhibition that questions the idea of modernism as a singular Western heteronormative phenomenon.
Yuki Kihara

Kihara’s performative photography upcycles select paintings by post-impressionist French artist Paul Gauguin created during his time in the Islands of Tahiti and the Marquesas between 1891 and 1903. Kihara problematises Gauguin’s outsized legacy by re-enacting his paintings back in the Pacific, paying careful attention to the details of his works. These re-enactments instill a Polynesian inflection to each photograph and are based on strong personal relationships with Kihara’s sitters, all of whom are part of the Fa‘afafine and Fa‘atama communities. Kihara works with these models to represent her own vision of paradise, redirecting the viewer to the concerns of contemporary Pacific Islanders and ‘returning the gaze’ in a profound gesture of empowerment.

Kihara completed an eight-week creative residency at Powerhouse Ultimo and undertook community engagement, including with First Nations artists.



On Gadigal land

Powerhouse Ultimo
500 Harris St
Ultimo NSW 2007

Plan your visitInternal link icon


Free, no bookings required
Suitable for all ages

24 March 2023 – 4 February 2024

Daily 10am–5pm
Thursday 5–9pm


We encourage visitors with accessibility requirements to contact us via book@powerhouse.com.au or (02) 9217 0222 for help in planning your visit. We accept Companion Cards.

MoreInternal link icon

Schools and Groups

Arrange your visit with us below. For questions please contact our bookings team on (02) 9217 0222 or book@powerhouse.com.au

Book nowExternal link icon

Virtual Explorer

Dive into our immersive at-home digital experience to access footage of Kihara speaking about her research and creation process, and Paradise Camp themes and stories. Enjoy and explore Paradise Camp in the comfort of your home.


Yuki Kihara
Natalie King OAM


BERTHA (2023) is a new work commissioned for the Powerhouse Ultimo iteration of Yuki Kihara's Paradise Camp, developed by Kihara in collaboration with Harold Samu AKA Bertha – a drag artist who played an active role in gay nightlife and HIV/AIDS activism in the 1990s in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The work features racialised, vintage Pacific dolls collected from thrift stores and ebay that have been upcycled and repurposed to tell a larger-than-life drag story. Kihara worked closely with Samu to design and recreate costumes previously worn by Bertha so that each doll captures a moment in Samu’s dynamic life.

Supported by

Co-commissioned by Powerhouse and Creative New Zealand, this Powerhouse Late x Vivid Ideas initiative is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

On Now – 4 Feb 2024
VisitExternal link