Dead in the Streets (2019) by Tanu Gago


Produced for the Vunilagi Vou exhibition project, Finding Emory: A Poster Show (2019), this work is one of a series of seven original posters inspired by the iconic aesthetic of Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. From the controversial trial of armed Police response units in South Auckland to the ongoing indoctrination of imposed body / faith politics, these seven artworks speak directly to shifts and changes that affected the lives of indigenous people in the South Pacific / Moana Oceania in 2019.

Dead in the Streets (2019)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved swiftly to ban semi-automatic assault rifles after the Christchurch mosque shootings but seemed to morally overturn and contradict this decision by approving the New Zealand Police’s decision to use armed Police patrol units in vulnerable communities in South Auckland.

Call it what it is: violent state intervention.

Evidence-based research has proven that these Police tactics are ineffective, and in most cases lead to the injury and the accidental shooting of innocent civilians who are disproportionately Māori and Pacific Islanders. The Police commissioner’s rhetoric about safety and public interest is simply propaganda. Pacific people who have suffered intergenerational state violence, abuse and state reform know better.

What lived experience continues to teach us, is that Police use racial profiling to determine their victims, Police with tattoos can still shoot you dead in the streets and the Police force looks more like the white supremacists they purport to be protecting us from.

Tanu Gago

Tanu Gago is an award-winning Sāmoan artist and filmmaker who was raised between Māngere, South Auckland, Tonga and Sāmoa. Gago is co-founder of FAFSWAG Art Collective (2020 Arts Foundation Laureates) and was awarded 2020 Contemporary Pacific Artist Award at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards.

3 in stock


Edition of 10, Duraprint silicone-based paper, signed, unframed.

Additional information

Dimensions 42 × 59.4 cm

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