Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000); Tuffery Michel; 1994; FE010516

From

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Name/Title

Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000)

About this object

Pisupo lua afe (Corned Beef 2000) is a sculpture of a small cattle beast. It is made from flattened corned beef tins that have been joined together with dozens of rivets. It was first exhibited in the landmark exhibition Bottled Ocean curated by Jim Vivieaere at the City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, in 1994.

New food, new word

In the 1960s, former Chief Justice of Samoa C C Marsack wrote that 'when Samoans were first introduced to the wonder of tinned food, this was in the form of pea soup. As no Samoan word can end in a consonant, they tacked an "o" on the end and made the Samoan form of the English term pisupo, pronounced pea-soup-o. As time wore on and other edible matter arrived in tins, the generic term pisupo was used for all of it. Now it is more or less confined to tinned meat.'

Significance

For decades, pisupo has been a prestige food item eaten and gifted at feasts, weddings, funerals, and other special occasions in Samoan society. In this artwork, New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery comments on how an imported product has replaced local Pacific Island foods used in feasts and gift giving. Like many artists of Pacific descent living in New Zealand, the wider Pacific and its history are recurring themes in his work. Through Pisupo lua afe, Tuffery asks questions about the effects colonial economies have had on Pacific peoples and whether foreign intervention actually encourages independence or fosters dependency.

See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=235630

Maker

Tuffery Michel

Maker Role

sculptor

Date Made

1994

Place Made

New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Flattened tin cans, riveted together

Measurements

1150 x 2170 x 650 mm

Credit Line

Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds

Object Type

sculpture

Object number

FE010516

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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