Jeremy Leatinu'u

When the Moon Sees the Sun

When the Moon Sees the Sun by Jeremy Leatinu'u

Artwork Detail

"When the Moon Sees the Sun", 2019 is a poignant exploration of genealogy, inspired by the death of the artist’s koroua (grandfather) and commissioned for the 2019 Honolulu Biennial. Beginning as a waiata (song) that Jeremy Leatinu‘u composed in te reo Māori, the final artwork translates its stanzas into a visual story that unfolds across six chapters, embedding the story of his koroua through allusion, metaphors and images of place.

Through each of the stanzas or chapters, we journey to the places that shaped his grandfather’s life: Northland, Kawhia, and finally the family home in Manurewa.

In each chapter, the artist recounts memories shared by different family members as intimate close-up shots detailing the birth, life and death of his koroua appear. The title of this artwork is drawn from the reflections of his grandfather's sister who describes their bond using the allusion of the sun and the moon, sharing:

Looking at the night sky I see the glow of the moon

pushing its way through the clouds. I forget sometimes

that the sun and the moon see each other, despite the

different times they appear. It’s easy to forget when

you’re way down here. The sun looks to the moon and

the moon only being seen because of the sun. Maybe it

was them, their shared energy that brought us together.

– Ane Tonga, Curator Pacific Art, 2023

When the Moon Sees the Sun
Jeremy Leatinu'u
Production date
single-channel HD video, colour, sound
20min 15sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2023
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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