‘Illusion’ was created in Tahiti and inspired by the paintings of Paul Gauguin and “tropical” images in Modern art. This type of imagery casts the Polynesian woman as beautiful, desirable, subservient and connected to the natural environment. The subjects in Leuba’s contemporary portraits act out the myth of the “vahine”, as Polynesian women are referred to, yet through non-binary definitions of gender conformity. Her sitters are known in Tahiti as “Mahu” (an effeminate man) or “rae rae” (transgender). Leuba stages the fictional narratives with a painterly sensibility. Decorated with cultural and social ornaments, the models distinguish themselves with colorful cosmetics and body paint. Connecting to this female archetype, it is an attempt at metamorphosis, as well as an ideological challenge to the visual codes initiated by Gauguin and his search for the primitive.