Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū will be operating a little differently while our city remains Orange under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. That means you’ll need to show your My Vaccine Pass when you visit us, and wear your mask and scan or sign in. Mā te wā, see you soon.
John Miller (Ngāpuhi) is a special figure in Aotearoa, having photographed protests and important events throughout the country from 1967 right up until the present moment. His work covers everything from the 1960s and 1970s anti-Vietnam war and anti-nuclear protests to the 1975 Māori Land March, 1977–78 Bastion Point occupation and 1981 Springbok Tour protests, as well as many more examples of civilian dissent. John uses the camera as a witness, capturing moments of collective voice in action, and he also honours the people who have led the charge for changes in thinking and our society. Looking at his work is like walking through our history backwards into the future. Curator Melanie Oliver sat down with activist John Minto and photographer Conor Clarke (Ngāi Tahu) to talk about John Miller’s work.
In Te Ao Māori, waiata (songs) are often used to retain memories, knowledge and whakapapa. The meditative chant that artist Aydriannah Tuiali’i performs here urges us to reflect on our ancestors, to look for sustenance and future wellbeing through our connections to the past.
Painted blue and patterned with rust, the thin plywood panels and screens lean nonchalantly around the walls of the gallery and form a skyline of sorts. Across the floor sculptures intersect the space, with groupings of tall rods, waist-high enclosures, clusters of plywood shapes and a small kayak frame on salvaged seaweed and driftwood. Islands for the audience to navigate. The forms are roughly human in scale and relative to the body, generating an intensity and making this an immersive installation to wade through.