John Miller (Ngaitewake ki te Tuawhenua hapu of Ngapuhi) is a photographer and self-described ‘sympathetic observer’ of anti-war, civil rights, anti-apartheid, anti-nuclear and Māori political protests. Tour Scrums features his black and white photographs of anti-apartheid protests in 1970s Wellington together with his major twin-screen colour work documenting the anti-tour protests a decade later: Tour Scrums – Protesting Black and Blue. Pairs of still images are combined with sound and radio recordings captured at the time; in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland protestors face off against uniformed police.
The 1981 Springbok rugby tour brought protestors onto the streets in cities across New Zealand, re-shaping the national self-image. Miller's images document a period of radical tumult with New Zealanders of all ages expressing solidarity with black South Africans, and their aspirations for freedom and justice.
In 2003 Miller received a Media Peace Prize Lifetime Award in recognition of his photography and its role in helping to promote peace.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Where Hope and History Rhyme, Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington, 2012; Whakawhanangatanga- Making Familial Connections, Northart Gallery, Auckland, 2012; John Miller – Photographer, Nathan Homestead, Manurewa, Auckland, 2012; and Wha Tekau Tau, The Struggle Endures, Pierre Peeters Gallery, Auckland, 2011. Recent group exhibitions include: Direct Democracy, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2013; Māori, their treasures have a soul, Quai Branly Museum, Paris, 2012; E Tū Ake: Standing Strong, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, 2011; Photo Histories, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 2009; and Bastion Point: The Exhibition 30 Years On, Auckland Central Library, 2008.
This is the third exhibition in the new Deane Gallery Guest Curator Programme and is curated by Geraldine Barlow (Irish, Māori and English descent, of the Ngapuhi iwi), Senior Curator and Collection Manager at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (MUMA).