Fiona Clark

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1954

Chrissy Witoko at the Evergreen Club, Wellington, 1989

  • 1989
  • Durst Lambda print from digital master
  • Gift of the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery, 2022, in celebration of their 50th Anniversary 1971-2021
  • 456 x 312mm
  • 2021/192

Fiona Clark is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important social documentary photographers, known for giving agency to her subjects through incorporating their words, and for working with people she has strong relationships with, particularly the LGBTQI community.

Fiona says: “My intent is to give people a voice. The photos say, ‘I am who I am. I’m here. I’m part of your world and I’m going to stay.’ What’s so powerful is the participant’s gaze and directness, but there’s also a huge sadness. You can see the struggle it takes to keep that personal momentum going. I hope these photos make you feel the human connection we all feel when we look at another person. It’s the thread that binds us.”

Chrissy Witoko (1944–2002) was owner of the Evergreen Coffee Lounge on Vivian Street in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington –a popular late-night entertainment establishment and safe, accepting environment for the queer community from the 1980s to mid-1990s. Chrissy is pictured in her apartment upstairs from the Evergreen, a beautifully decorated living area. On her 50th birthday, she was crowned ‘Queen Christine of Wellington’.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History