Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Help us improve our prizes database. Contact us if you have more information.

Leslie Rice

Title
Teha'amana and her husband, Paul Gauguin
Medium
acrylic on velvet
Dimensions
105 x 70 cm
Further information

Teha’amana was from the Cook Islands. History tells us that around the age of 13, she moved with her family to Tahiti, where she met the celebrated French post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, who took her as his wife. The meeting, arrangement and marriage likely took place in a single afternoon. Gauguin referred to her as his vahine, which simply means ‘woman’ in Tahitian. Gauguin had three such vahines.

Pictured is but one possible way the arrangement may have ended, many years later. Redressing 20th-century visual stereotypes, it is also inspired by depictions of the fate of another famous colonial interloper, Holofernes, at the hands of Judith, as described in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith.

Leslie Rice, 2019