Past Exhibition

Literature’s arrival to the Pacific. Peter Simpson

Hātarei 6 Noema -
Hātarei 4 Tīhema

Saturday 6 November -
Saturday 4 December


Untitled, 2021, Peter Simpson,Water bottles, plastic, paper and wood, 1350 x 1270 x 800 mm. Photo: Bunty Bou

Untitled, 2021, Peter Simpson,
Water bottles, plastic, paper and wood, 1350 x 1270 x 800 mm. Photo: Bunty Bou

Using a first edition copy of A Voyage Round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Peter Simpson has produced an exhibition that follows the arrival and development of European forms of poetics, science and history in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

This exhibition uses a foundational work of Modern Travel Literature, A Voyage Round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Resolution, Commanded by Capt. James Cook, During the Years 1772, 3, 4, and 5, Georg Forster, 1777.

The Voyage, is an unofficial account of James Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific written by Georg Forster who joined the expedition as an assistant to his father Johann Reinhold Forster, the expedition’s naturalist. 

Published 6 weeks before Cook’s official account, the text’s novel contribution was to be more than a collection of facts, which differed from the majority of traveler’s accounts at the time. Forster used the text's narrative to frame and give context to the Voyage’s many scientific ‘discoveries’ - narrative in service to objectivity. Creating a text that is read as much for its account of a journey to another world as its scientific value.

STEPHANO : Now forward with your tale. [To Trinculo] Prithee, stand further off.
CALIBAN : Beat him enough. After a little time I’ll beat him too.
STEPHANO : Stand farther. [Trinculo moves farther away.] Come, proceed.
CALIBAN : Why, as I told thee, ’tis a custom with him
I’ th’ afternoon to sleep. There thou mayst brain him,
Having first seized his books, or with a log
Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake,
Or cut his weasand with thy knife. Remember
First to possess his books, for without them
He’s but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
One spirit to command. They all do hate him
As rootedly as I. Burn but his books.
He has brave utensils—for so he calls them—
Which, when he has a house, he’ll deck withal.
And that most deeply to consider is
The beauty of his daughter. He himself
Calls her a nonpareil. I never saw a woman
But only Sycorax my dam and she;
But she as far surpasseth Sycorax
As great’st does least.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Peter Simpson

Peter Simpson was born in Pōneke of Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Tamaterā, Indian and Pākehā descent. 

He completed an MFA at the Slade School of Art, University College London in 2019, was a participant within the Maumaus ISP programme 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal, and completed a BFA at the Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts London in 2013. He lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Recent exhibitions include; Te mātauranga ō te Pākehā (The knowledge of the Pākehā), Mayfair Art Fair, NZ, 2020, Slade Degree shows, Slade School of Art, UCL, UK, 2019, Olaf is an Indigenous name, Lacuna, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2019, A retreat in time, Big Screen Southend, Focal Point Gallery, UK, 2017, EBC003, with Francis Loyld-Jones, East Bristol Contemporary, UK, 2016.