May 30, 2014

Friday Round Up - 30 May, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up we look to New Zealand and the 11th Auckland Festival of Photography. Featured today is Alison Stieven-Taylor's interview with this year's commissioned artist, Tanu Gago, a young Samoan exploring cultural identity in the Pacific. Also this week are showcases from Ayala Gazit’s "Was It A Dream", iconic, and controversial photo documentarian Ann Westra’s “Our Future,” Chloe Riddell’s "Memories Enclosed…Handle with Care," and Chinese photographer Yang Jianchuan's Melody of Kunqu Opera. Lots of words and images to prompt thought, so if you're not heading "over the ditch" this year, enjoy this selection.

Festival: New Zealand
The Auckland Festival of Photography

Interview with Tanu Gago

Falency, Moe, Nana From the series: Tama'ita'i Pasifika Mao'i 2014 
(C) Tanu Gago - Auckland Festival of Photography

In Tanu Gago’s new body of work “Tama'ita'i Pasifika Mao'i” commissioned by the 2014 Auckland Photography Festival, this New Zealand artist challenges how Pacific women are represented with the desire to move imagery away from cultural stereotypes. Promulgated by the media and in advertising images Pacific women, and men, tend to be portrayed as symbols of Pacific tourism, or as living on the margins of contemporary society. Both are narrow views that Gago is keen to expunge...please click on the tab above - Feature Articles - to read this story in full and see Gago's photographs.

Selected Exhibitions on this year's theme - "Memory"
The 11th edition of the Auckland Festival of Photography features ten exhibitions concerned with the theme of memory in its Signature Series. Encompassing works by local and international photographers, the Series allows audiences to contemplate the meaning of memory and how time, circumstance and recollection can impact our understanding of ‘what has been’; that unique juxtaposition between the present and the past as described by French philosopher Roland Barthes in his seminal work Camera Lucida.

This week’s selection features Ayala Gazit’s "Was It A Dream", iconic, and controversial photo documentarian Ann Westra’s “Our Future” and Chloe Riddell’s Memories Enclosed…Handle with Care, plus a photo gallery with images from performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto and Chinese photographer Yang Jianchuan.

Ayala Gazit’s "Was It A Dream" is a work created by loss. In this deeply personal work Gazit creates a portrait of a brother she never knew. Born in Israel to an American mother and Israeli father, at the age of 12 Gazit learned she had an older brother, James, living in Australia. But before she could meet him he committed suicide in 1996 ending her dream of knowing her sibling. She says this series of photographs in “Was it a Dream” is her “attempt to create a portrait of my brother whom I will never meet by photographing the ‘un-photographable,’ and following the traces and echoes of one’s existence after his passing”.

(All images C) Ayala Gazit

Was It a DreamAyala Gazit
29 May - 17 June
Silo 6, Wynyard Qtr

Ans Westra has spent much of her life documenting New Zealand’s indigenous people. As a migrant from Europe Westra was fascinated with her new homeland and since the late 1950s she has amassed a collection of images that capture a world few have witnessed from the outside. While her pursuit has not been without controversy she says “No true appraisal of Maori from an outside perspective was happening at the time and their culture seemed to be on the verge of extinction. Arriving here…with a curiosity for humanity gave me a unique place. Though in later years Maori themselves questioned my authority and understanding as an outsider at the same time they gave me a view on their changing world…Now being more involved with documenting and preservation of this beautiful landscape I come to that with the love Maori have for their land, their Turangiwaewae.” In “Our Future” Westra showcases colour works from her book of the same name, along with a range of vintage black and white photographs.

All images (C) Ans Westra

Our Future
Ann Westra
31 May – 15 June
Norman King Square
Ernie Mays Street
Northcote Shopping Centre

In “Memories Enclosed...Handle with Care” New Zealand photographer Chloe Riddell examines what she sees as the “inadequacies of conventional family photography to describe the reality of family life”. Exploring societal ideals and conventions around notions of family life that are perpetuated by the media and popular culture, Riddell juxtaposes the idea of “domestic truth…and family reality” in an attempt to “reclaim my own personal memories” and to frame them in what she labels “family truth”.

All images (C) Chloe Riddell

Chloe Riddell’s Memories Enclosed…Handle with Care
28 May - 7 June
Elam Projectspace Gallery
University of Auckland
20 Whitaker Place

Also featured this year in the “Memory” themed exhibitions are New Zealand photographer Emil McAvoy's “Reflections on Lily Pond,”( 11 June - 21 June) Chinese photographer Yang Jianchuan’s “Melody of Kungqu Opera,” ( 29 May - 17 June) and Japanese performance artist and photographer Tatsumi Orimoto (29 May - 17 June). There is also a group show, Photoforum: History in The Taking; 40 years (6-28 June).

Yang Jianchuan
Melody of Kunqu Opera

"With a history of more than 600 years, Kunqu Opera is known as the “mother of Chinese dramas”, and considered an “orchid” in this field. In Chinese culture, “orchid” is recognized as elegant, neat, and clean; together with plum flower, bamboo, and chrysanthemum, they represent Chinese people’s interpretation on traditional “culture of elegancy”, says Chinese photo-artist Yang Jianchuan. 

Melody of Kunqu Opera
29 May - 17 June

Visit the Auckland Festival of Photography website here for the full 2014 program.

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