Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Matthew Rarey

Committee Members

Jennifer Johung


Contemporary Art, Lisa Reihana, New Media, Oceania, Tattoo


This paper utilizes tattoo as a means for exploring the dialogue between contemporary Maori artist Lisa Reihana’s In Pursuit of Venus [infected] and Joseph Dufour’s nineteenth-century decorative wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique. I argue that the tattooed body constitutes a re-insertion or re-infection within the pictorial program of In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. As such, tattoo becomes one focal point which allows us to work through four themes investigated by these two artworks: gender identity and ambiguity vis a vis practices that concern bodily adornment, the mutability of looking practices from one culture to another, encounters between different cultures and the concept of images as sites of encounter themselves, and the relationship between images, systems of knowledge and technology.