Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Creating a Common Vocabulary

AA
View Discussion
Bruce Connew, A Vocabulary as installed at Te Uru. Detail. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Bruce Connew, A Vocabulary as installed at Te Uru. Detail. Bruce Connew, A Vocabulary as installed at Te Uru. Detail. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Bruce Connew, A Vocabulary as installed at Te Uru. Detail showing vitrine of Rangihiroa Panoho texts. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Bruce Connew, A Vocabulary as installed at Te Uru. Detail. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

The fragments reference friend and foe, victim and perpetuator, ally and nemesis. And with the carved language, its politics is usually overt (but not always), assuming an indignant pākehā colonial/settler readership. (A good example is…'law and order against fanaticism and barbarism' from Moutoa, Whanganui.) Sometimes in this Vocabulary Connew counter-charges by butting words from different images together—such as ‘tragically' and ‘slaughter'—or showcasing ‘punitive of the crown, confiscation': all three from a memorial at Te Tarata pā, Waioeka.

Titirangi

 

Bruce Connew photographs (with sections of He Mōteatea & an essay by Rangihīroa Panoho)
A Vocabulary

 

5 December 2020 - 14 February 2021

Designed to promote the stunning Biblelike book of Connew photographs and Panoho texts—created mostly to focus on the Te Ika-a-Māui North Island memorials, pou whakamaumahara and gravestones of key personalities killed in the Land Wars—this very moving exhibition presents (on the walls) a selection of the published images. A selection of Panoho’s commentaries (10 excerpts and an intro) can be read in a centrally positioned vitrine.

Of the 306 photographs in the book/published artwork, 79 are here. Almost all depict fragments of carved text on headstones and memorials (mostly English), and some pairs of images overlap. Connew has cropped these very carefully to create a sort of stuttering collective poem (scattered pieces linked by ellipses) mocking Imperialist sensibilities (when they surface) and saluting the fallen of both sides—as your eye moves back and forth taking in the carefully positioned images.

The subtly coloured mottled photographs are quite beautiful, and there is a free, narrow, twelve-page, paper catalogue containing extensive info on each historical event behind each image, naming personages and sites.

Some of these documented quotations present combatants’ names (dead and—at the time—living); place names where events occurred; isolated parts of speech vital to Connew’s aims, like the conjunction ‘and’ or adverb ‘also’ used to account for tragedies on both sides; pertinent dates; military ranks; political positions; descriptions of military fortifications; or textual slices of violent conflictual narrative. Sometimes we see only fragments of words.

When perusing the walls, it is hoped you will recognise the historical significance of certain names, places or dates, look up the image number in the catalogue and read the very informative but brief account provided, and perhaps look further afield in a reliable online source like Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Significant protagonists (mentioned by name) in these photographed quotations include: Capt. James Cook, Queen Victoria, Rev. William Colenso, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Arthur Wakefield, William Hobson, Rev. Henry Williams, Te Rauparaha, Hōne Heke Pōkai, Sir George Grey, Sir William Fox, Potatau Te Wherowhero (First Māori King), Tawhiao (Second Māori King), Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, Capt. Gilbert Mair, Col. Thomas McDonnell, Gustavus von Tempsky, General Duncan Cameron, Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui, Rev. Carl Volkner, Wiremu Tamehana Tarapipipi Te Waharua, Henry Crann, Te Wetini Taiporutu, Hēmi Taiporutu, Titokowaru, Ropata Wahawaha, Rewi Manga Maniapoto, Col. Marmaduke Nixon.

The fragments reference friend and foe, victim and perpetuator, ally and nemesis. And with the carved language, its politics is usually overt (but not always), assuming an indignant pākehā colonial/settler readership. (A good example is…’law and order against fanaticism and barbarism’ from Moutoa, Whanganui.) Sometimes in this Vocabulary Connew counter-charges by butting words from different images together—such as ‘tragically’ and ‘slaughter’—or showcasing ‘punitive of the crown, confiscation’: all three from a memorial at Te Tarata pā, Waioeka.

In the central vitrine, Panoho presents ten excerpts from his lament and essay, the discussions (quoting politicians like Shane Jones) stressing that dissent is vital for a healthy democracy, that te kōrero must continue, and that the wars focussed on here are—in essence—not yet over. Fundamental issues are not yet resolved.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Still from Kent Monkman, Casualties of Modernity, 2015, colour film, English 14 mins 20 secs courtesy of the artist.

Fabulously Entertaining (Yet Didactic) Monkman

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Pakuranga

 

International group show
A Very Different World


13 February - 9 May 2021

JH
Kāryn Taylor, Two Fold. 2021, cast acrylic. ed. of 3, 300 mm x 600 mm

Kāryn Taylor’s Cast Acrylic Light Works

SANDERSON CONTEMPORARY ART

Auckland

 

Kāryn Taylor
An Implicate Order


16 March - 18 April 2021

JH
Hiria Anderson, Reka Deals, 2021; Tasty Super Savers, 2021; Sonny’s Takeaways, 2021: three digital prints on vinyl, 3 x 2400 mm x 3000 mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett

Roadside Kai Māori

Te Tuhi Billboards

Pakuranga

 

Hiria Anderson
Reka Deals /Tasty Super Savers / Sonny’s Takeaways


13 February 2021 - 9 May 2021

JH
Tomislav Nikolic, To Explain How it Feels, 2020 - 2021, synthetic polymer, marble dust, 22ct gold leaf on linen,  plastic gesso & wood, 192.5 x 235 x 15 cm

Inventive Nikolic

FOX JENSEN MCCRORY

Auckland

 

Tomislav Nikolic
To Explain How It Feels

 


18 March 2021 - 24 April 2021