Andrew Paul Wood on Fiona Pardington's Tiki: Orphans of Māoriland
Philip Carter Family Auditorium
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Art historian and writer Andrew Paul Wood gives a talk on the inception of Fiona Pardington’s Tiki: Orphans of Maoriland, the mystery of what the tiki are and where they came from in the context of the early colonial period, and what they might mean in Pardington’s work.
Says Wood, “When Fiona Pardington found these unusual objects from the Wellcome Collection in London … she was struck by their mystery. Neither taonga, nor mass-produced trinket, they are as difficult to identify as their creators. Acquired from London auction houses, these faux hei-tiki were probably created for the Pākehā or international market. ... It is impossible to say whether they were carved by entrepreneurial Māori amateurs, Pākehā enthusiasts (or forgers), or German lapidaries for export back to New Zealand for tourist souvenirs – perhaps all of the above. Pardington felt an affinity with their personality, hybridity and in-betweeness. She re-appropriates and breathes life into them with her camera and reparative vision, giving them dignity as the orphans of a complex history of interaction, exchange and exploitation.”
Related reading: Maori, Friends, Photography
Orphaned faux hei tiki and a complex story of interaction, exchange and exploitation.
Believe, urges Fiona Pardington’s photograph. The word isn’t easy to read, and takes some work to decipher, written as it is in laborious Victorian copperplate, and initially misspelled—the missing es have been inserted later as corrections. Unreadable fragments of other words surround it. Pardington has zeroed in on a single word in a larger document—and the context of that historical document is important—but when we first encounter it, it’s simply as a statement, or perhaps a gentle instruction, which speaks directly to the contemporary viewer: Believe.
The word appears in a letter written by a boy named Arthur Llewellyn Barker in Christchurch to his uncle back in England, during the 1860s. Arthur was a son of Dr A. C. Barker, the ship’s surgeon on board the first British colonial ship to reach Christchurch, the Charlotte Jane. Dr Barker was also known for his photographs of early Christchurch; with Believe and the other works in the series titled Childish Things, Pardington forges a link back to Barker as a kind of local artist-ancestor.
Pardington says of her encounter with Arthur’s letters: “I had an aching feeling in my bones, for the land, the birds impacted by the Pākehā kids and their guns, gulls and adventures. I could feel their father standing there with his camera, and marvelled at the wobbly copperplate words giving a rare and earnest view into a child's world in the Christchurch bush. […] We read in these children's stories to their uncle a softly reflected, innocently faceted view of important men looking for moa, the siblings finding puffballs and rowboats, and their father taking photographs.”
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)
Fiona Pardington photographed this treasured glass model at Canterbury Museum, where it is currently on display. It was made by local glass blower John Rowe in 1950 to commemorate a century of European settlement in the Waitaha Canterbury region. The Charlotte Jane was one of the ‘first four ships’ that carried the European settlers to Christchurch, and its depiction here raises issues of colonisation for Ngāi Tahu Māori. Pardington depicts the Charlotte Jane as a ‘ghost ship’ – a fragile and ethereal phantom of the past whose image persists in the present.
(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)
The seven heitiki (pounamu pendants) in these photographs are now held by the Auckland Museum, but they came originally from Te Waipounamu / the South Island and all are connected to Fiona Pardington’s Kāi Tahu iwi. Traditionally worn close to the heart, heitiki are sacred symbols of fertility with great spiritual significance. In Te Ao Māori, the Māori world, clear divisions are not made between past, present and future, and ancestors are considered actively present. With Mauria mai, tono ano (which means to bring to light, to claim again), Pardington wanted to not only record the appearance of these old and precious taonga (treasures), but to draw out their sense of powerful connection with the past.
(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)
Join our gallery curatorial team for a massed floor-talk in Te Wheke, a new exhibition that explores works from our collection - with significant loans - and opens narratives of navigation, migration, identity and place in the Pacific.
An intimate look at favourite works from the personal collections of Friends of the Art Gallery.
Join the Friends for breakfast in Universo followed by a tour of the new exhibition Te Wheke by Gallery curators.
The idea for an exhibition of Oceanic art originated from the Royal Academy itself, proposed in 2012 by its then artistic director Kathleen Soriano, an Australian. The exhibition was imagined to fit within the Academy’s occasional programme of ‘civilisation’ or ‘world art’ exhibitions, inaugurated in 1996 with the ground-breaking Africa: Art of a Continent, and followed by exhibitions such as Aztecs (2002), China (2005), Byzantium (2009) and others. These exhibitions sat among the gallery’s more usual fare of historical European, modern and contemporary art.
Te Āhua o te Hau ki te Papaioea
The ‘Operation 8’ anti-terror raids in October of 2007 were the culmination of a police investigation that led to the raiding of homes across New Zealand. The raids were conducted after an extended period of surveillance, which was enabled through use of the 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act. In 2013 the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that police had “unnecessarily frightened and intimidated” people during the raids.
Looking at Forty Years of Māori Moving Image Practice
Māori Moving Image: An Open Archive is co-curated by Bridget Reweti and Melanie Oliver. The following text is a conversation between the two curators around co-curating, archives and Māori moving image practice.
Works by more than twenty Māori moving image artists will be on display at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in August.
Do You See?
With the death of Julie King late in 2018, art and art history in Aotearoa New Zealand lost one of its great champions and major scholars. Julie was born in Yorkshire and grew up and was educated in Alnwick, Northumberland; she moved to Christchurch in 1975 to take up a role lecturing in the newly formed art history department at the University of Canterbury. She retired three decades later, having pioneered the teaching of New Zealand art in Canterbury.
An installation of hand-woven harakeke speaks of the contemporary Māori experience
This dynamic exhibition explores the history of Māori artists who have used animation, film and video as a medium.
In the early 1990s, Julia Morison used gold and shit in many works, exploring the idealised and base elements of human experience. She drew on the Jewish Sefiroth as a model for thinking about the relationship between the physical and the metaphysical. “Personally, I need to put some kind of order on experience for sake of sanity and negotiation,” she said. “The Sefirothic structure, or Tree of Knowledge, is really a metaphorical file and folder system for all; a conceptual paradigm for understanding everything. Putting that at the core of my practice gives me the freedom to admit everything and anything, micro and macro, metaphysical and corporeal, as legitimate content. It also gives me an interface to compose works.”
The title of this work, Dulia, is a Catholic term for worship given to saints and angels. Here Morison has pressed gold and excrement on to handmade paper balls, which are threaded together like the beads of a catholic rosary—an invitation to meditate on the relationship of the sacred and the profane, on a monumental scale.
Uncovering the remarkable, largely unseen work of early New Zealand photographers.
The London Club
In September 2017, Gallery director Jenny Harper, curator Felicity Milburn and Jo Blair, of the Gallery Foundation’s contracted development services, Brown Bread, went to London, taking a group of supporters who received a very special tour of the city’s art highlights. While there, they further developed the Foundation’s new London Club. Recently they sat down together in Jenny’s office…
Representing Women: Ann Shelton’s Dark Matter
What is ‘dark matter’? For theoretical physicists it is matter that cannot be directly observed but whose existence is nevertheless scientifically calculable – productively present yet simultaneously invisible. In a similar vein, the everyday phrase ‘dark matter’ describes objects, conditions and situations that harbour unease or trauma. Trauma that is often concealed, repressed, or buried. Both definitions are active in Ann Shelton’s mid-career review exhibition Dark Matter, and they provide a rich point of entry into this compelling collection of her photographic work. These are photographs that bristle with intensity and refuse to let their subjects die a quiet archival death.
An expansive view of Ann Shelton’s tightly conceived, large scale and hyperreal photography
New Zealand artist Laurence Aberhart is internationally regarded for his photographs of unpeopled landscapes and interiors. He photographs places redolent with the weight of time, which he captures with his century-old large-format camera and careful framing. But he’s always taken more spontaneous photographs of people too, particularly in the years he lived in Christchurch and Lyttelton (1975–83) when he photographed his young family, his friends and occasionally groups of strangers. ‘If I lived in a city again,’ he says, ‘I would photograph people. One of the issues is that I even find it difficult to ask people whether I can photograph a building, so to ask to photograph them – I’m very reticent. I also know that after a number of minutes of waiting for me to set cameras up and take exposure readings and so on, people can get rather annoyed. So it’s not a conscious thing, it’s more just an accident of the way I photograph.’
This article first appeared as 'Painting offers a multiverse of symbols' in The Press on 21 June 2017.
Bringing the Soul
As an eleven-year-old boy from Whāngarei, sent to live in Yaldhurst with my aunt in the late seventies, Christchurch was a culture shock. Arriving in New Zealand’s quintessential ‘English city’, I remember well the wide landscapes and manicured colonial built environment. It was very pretty but also very monocultural, with no physical evidence of current or former Māori occupation or cultural presence, or at least none that I could appreciate at that time.
The new 6pm timeslot for the Friends Speaker of the Month series is proving popular, and it has been great to see so many of you coming out to hear from our fantastic speakers.
The new year started with the Friends’ fantastic summer trip, visiting exhibitions at two of Canterbury’s regional art galleries.
Iconic and unseen early photographs of Christchurch by Laurence Aberhart
As we approach the first anniversary of the reopening of the Gallery, it seems like a good time to celebrate a year’s progress in the life of the city.
The Devil’s Blind Spot
Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery has a long-standing tradition of curating exhibitions of emerging and early-career artists. We do this in order to contribute to the ecology of the local art world, as well as because – quite straightforwardly – we’re interested in the practices of artists at all stages of their careers, and would like to bring the work of outstanding younger artists to wider public attention. The Devil’s Blind Spot is the latest in this ongoing series, but unlike earlier exhibitions, it’s concerned with a single medium – photography.
Recent photography by an emerging generation of New Zealand artists.
The Camera as a Place of Potential
To Māori, the colour black represents Te Korekore – the realm of potential being, energy, the void, and nothingness. The notion of potential and the presence of women are what I see when I peek at Fiona Pardington’s 1997 work Moko. And I say peek deliberately, because I am quite mindful of this work – it is downright spooky. Moko is a photographic rendering of a seeping water stain upon the blackboard in Pardington’s studio, taken while she was the recipient of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in Dunedin in 1997.
A small but poetic exhibition looking at early European and Māori representations of seafaring vessels, with the Charlotte Jane as a focal point.
Five significant works of art that look to traditional Māori architecture to inform modernist and contemporary Māori art practice.
Canterbury modernist landscape painting from the collections of Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery, poignantly revised from within a Kāi Tahu perspective
Joyce Campbell’s immersive video work takes the viewer on a journey into the ocean’s fathomless depths, exploring processes of creation and annihilation.
Death, sex, flesh and the female gaze are among the many themes explored in the Gallery’s newest exhibition, Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation.
The Lines That Are Left
Of landscape itself as artefact and artifice; as the ground for the inscribing hand of culture and technology; as no clean slate.
— Joanna Paul
The residential Red Zone is mostly green. After each house is demolished, contractors sweep up what is left, cover the section with a layer of soil and plant grass seed. Almost overnight, driveway, yard, porch, garage, shed and house become a little paddock; the border of plants and trees outlining it the only remaining sign that there was once a house there.
A survey exhibition by a leading New Zealand photographer explores sex, death and the female gaze.
Laurence Aberhart's 1983 photograph of Lyttelton children is displayed on our Gloucester Street billboard.
Selwyn Toogood, Levin
I spent much of my adolescence in hospital, confined to bed due to a chronic illness. With a 14" TV beside me, I’d travel to imaginary places via the controller of my Nintendo games console. At the time, I couldn’t imagine walking to the letterbox, let alone experiencing the more exotic places of the world.
A generous, multimedia selection of animal-themed works, both lively and thoughtful.
This quarter the Gallery will reopen. It has been a long time coming by anyone’s standard. Although we have maintained connections through the award-winning Outer Spaces programme and nomadic, trailed around temporary gallery spaces; being able to once more step into the Gallery’s own space is an exciting prospect. I am not alone in looking forward to having the Gallery back in its rightful setting and reacquainting ourselves with the fabulous art we collectively own.
Volunteer guide Rod McKay talks about his life, being an art tourist, and guiding Gallery tours.
Christchurch Art Gallery volunteer guide Bella Boyd talks about her love of guiding, her favourite works in the Gallery collection and interpreting art with poetry.
Taryn Simon's known unknowns
In 2003, the American photographer Taryn Simon embarked upon a four-year heart-of-darkness journey. In response to paranoid rumours of WMDs and secret sites in Iraq, she turned her gaze to places and things hidden within her own country.