- Purchased 1997
- Oil on unstretched canvas
- 2240 x 1820mm
Taking visual direction from nineteenth-century Niuean painted hiapo (tapa cloth), John Pule's 'On Another Man’s Land' lays out composite pattern and motif into complex, segmented storylines. Cryptic symbols feature alongside more recognisable imagery such as numbers, creatures and various goods, both customary and introduced. Also pictured are an explorer’s sextant, a missionary and figures embracing, gathered, or in despair.
That this is storytelling from a Polynesian viewpoint is reinforced by Pule’s incorporation of a sketch by the Raiatean priest and navigator Tupaia, made while on board Captain Cook’s Endeavour in the Pacific in 1770. Depicting a Māori chief of Uawa (Tolaga Bay) trading with the naturalist Joseph Banks, it foretells future, often ruinous, moments of exchange.
The painting’s title refers to the Niue-born Pule's own experience of being raised in Auckland, while conceivably raising broader questions. Pule has recently returned to live in Niue. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)