"Yuki Kihara's artwork straddles an ambiguous field of binary forces - east/west, original/copy, male/female - and challenges the viewer as being complex and multiple, parody and reality. ‘Who am I, what am I, and what are you?' are questions that will never haunt or torment Kihara. Rather, they provide her with the material for her artwork. The possible answers to these questions are always limited and draw boundaries that Kihara will continue to cross in the expression of her existence."Jim Vivieaere


Yuki Kihara is an artist and independent curator who is interested in ways that art, performance and the public interact and prompt discussions towards the understanding the complexities of humanity. Many of her works have achieved iconic status, and her work is often cited amongst artistic and academic communities and critically discussed in number of important publications and journals in New Zealand and internationally.  

Kihara's performances and works have been represented at the Asia-Pacific Triennial, Auckland Triennial and the Sakahan Quiquennial. Kihara's first solo museum exhibition in North America entitled Shigeyuki Kihara; Living Photographs (2008-09) was held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, following the acquisition of her works by the museum for their permanent collection.  

Kihara's work has also been presented internationally, amongst others, at the de Young Fine Art Museum of San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art; Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand; Auckland Art Gallery; Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai); Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan); National Museum of Poznan (Warsaw); Centro Ricerca Arte Attuale (Verbania Italy); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Norway and Rautenstrauch Joest Museum, Cologne Germany.

In 2008, Kihara was selected as one of five ‘path-breaking artists' by Art Asia Pacific Almanac alongside Mike Parr, NS Harsha, Kimsooja and Huang Yong Ping.  

In 2012 Kihara was the recipient of an Arts Foundation New Generation Award.  The New Generation Award is described by the Arts Foundation as artists having assured potential, and their work challenge boundaries. They are independent, unique and show outstanding promise which display a depth of thinking and consistency that gives their work strength. Yuki Kihara was also the Paramount Award Winner of the 21st Annual Wallace Art Awards in the same year.  

In 2013, Kihara's work was a subject of a mid-career survey entitled Undressing the Pacific, developed and presented at the Hocken Library and a research symposium dedicated to her work presented at the Otago Museum both events organised by the University of Otago. In the second half of the year, Kihara will participate as an Artist In Residence hosted by International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and present a solo exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City USA.

Undressing the Pacific toured nationally across New Zealand to the Wallace Arts Centre (2013); Te Manawa Museum (2014) and Waikato Museum (2015).

In 2014, Kihara’s work was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, both in the USA.

Kihara has conducted Artist in Residence programmes nationally and internationally, at Massey University, Wellington (2013); Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (2013); and the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA (2013), Theater Hebbel um Ufer, Berlin (2011); International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York (2013) and the National University of Samoa (2014), some of which involved her lecturing, mentoring and facilitating workshops.

In 2015, Kihara collaborated as artistic co-director alongside Berlin-based choreographer Jochen Roller on dance production Them and Us.

Kihara’s new photographic series entitled A study of a Samoan savage premiered at Milford Galleries Dunedin in August 2015 and then showed at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery (March 2016), Auckland.

In 2016, Kihara has upcoming exhibitions in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Examples of Kihara's work can be found in selected permanent collections internationally including; Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand; Auckland Art Gallery; Gus Fisher Gallery University of Auckland; Govett Brewster Art Gallery; Massey University; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art; Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation; University of Cambridge Museum of Archeology and Anthropology; Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Kihara's work is also held in number of private collections internationally, including those of Giorgio Armani.

Yuki Kihara is represented by Milford Galleries Dunedin,  New Zealand.


An essay by Daniel Satele – 11 August, 2012
Shigeyuki speaks to Katerina M. Teaiwa about her work and how culture, history and gender influences her process
Shigeyuki Kihara: Living Photographs - at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City
An essay by Kylie Message, Research Fellow in the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the Australian National University.


Shigeyuki Kihara was the recipient of one of three Arts Foundation New Generation Awards announced at the Macqaurie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards, held in the Cloud, Auckland, on 2 October.
Culture for Sale' explores the commercialization of Samoan culture in the so called ‘post-colonial' era in the wake of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Samoa in June 2012.
Talanoa; Walk the Talk VI by Shigeyuki Kihara. Commisisoned by the Auckland Triennial
The solo performance entitled Taualuga: The Last Dance (2006) by Samoan-born artist Shigeyuki Kihara is an attempt to communicate wih her ancestors in seeking solutions to today’s global issues that affect the small islands of the South Pacific region.
Film director Fiona Samuel, performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara and singer-songwriter Ruia Aperahama discuss their very different approaches to creating art with Paul Bushnell. Music critic Nick Bollinger also contributes.