CURATOR Reuben Friend ARTISTS Susana Lei'ataua, Gina Matchitt
In Māori, ‘āhua’ (shape, form, or likeness) is often used in describing the physical appearance or character of a person, place, or situation. Susana Lei’ataua and Gina Matchitt piece together photos to embody personal experiences and historical events that have shaped them.
Lei’ataua’s Wall of Light: Memorial for New York 01/02 (2012) shows photos taken in New York after 9/11. On the street, flags proliferated as markers of resilience and solidarity. Here, the flags float within the glass-like bricks. For the artist, bricks and glass are synonymous with New York City―the building blocks which act as agents of re-construction and resurrection.
Matchitt weaves together new and historic photographs of family, friends, and interesting characters she met during a recent trip back home to her Te Arawa/Te Whakatōhea tribal homelands around the Bay of Plenty. These images create larger forms that reference symbols of power from New Zealand’s past and present, silhouettes of Captain Cook, Queen Elizabeth, the silver fern, and a hei tiki.