28 May - 4 SeptemberEdith and George: in our sea of islands
This exhibition contrasts two sets of portraits created by two New Zealand photographers who each performed the role of village photographer within their communities. Their work bridges the Pacific Ocean and more than 100 years.
One set is a selection of photographs of Cook Islanders, taken by New Zealander George Crummer at the start of the twentieth century. The images were chosen from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa by contemporary photographer Edith Amituanai. In response, Amituanai has compiled a complementary set of her own portraits of youth from her community in suburban West Auckland.
What emerges in the space between these two sets of portraits is a conversation about migration, colonisation, settlement, cross-cultural exchange and identity across the Pacific Ocean. Photographic technologies, the formal language of portraiture, and the politics of representation have been caught up with these intermingling global currents, spreading, contaminating and adapting as they go.
“Edith & George’ reveals how archives and portraiture can enrich our conversations about the shared history and future of what Epeli Hauʻofa terms ‘our sea of islands’, by making them real and personal.”