First Thursdays Chch and Gallery 464 warmly invite to to the opening of Living Within the Land - a show by Ellie Waters and Mitchell Bright.
Opening event 5pm Thursday 3 December
Living Within the Land brings together two artists that share a practice and a keen interest in how human beings relate to the landscape on an emotional level.
Using photography as their medium, these artists from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, explore and document how two communities relate to their landscapes in Aotearoa.
Thankyou to Gallery 464 for generously hosting this show.
About the artists...
Ellie Waters is currently studying a Bacholor of Fine Arts, majoring in photography, at the University of Canterbury. In this body of work she examines the social and environmental heritage of Rapaki– a small Marae based community which sits on the shores of the Whakaraupo (Lyttelton Harbour).
Ko te whanga ko au; Ko au ko te whanga – The harbour and I; I and the harbour
After five years of living in Otautahi, I have recently moved back to the Whakaraupo. Although I grew up in Northern England- meaning my genealogies lie in a land thousands of miles away- I have developed a deep love for and connection to this place I now call home. ‘Ko te whanga ko au; Ko au ko te whanga – The harbour and I; I and the harbour’ is an on going series of work which explores this relationship. I began the body of work in my third year of study at Canterbury’s school of Fine Arts, looking specifically at Rapaki, a small Maori settlement which sits on the shores of the Whakaraupo.
Traditionally, Maori believe there to be a deep connection between humans and the natural world, a relationship which I find particularly evident at Rapaki. Here local iwi have always held a strong spiritual and physical tie to the land and although close to main centres of colonisation, the small settlement has retained its cultural idenity. However in recent years the health of the harbour has declined, altering the way of life at Rapaki. I plan to continue this body of work next year, in my fourth year of study, looking further at the relationship between the harbour and its surrounding communities.
Mitchell Bright has just completed his final year of photography at the university of Canterbury and is looking to continue his practice into post-graduate research. Working very much within the realms of documentary photography he has developed a focus on matters of how and why people decide to live in different places and the realities that come with that. Born and raised in Selwyn on the verge between suburban and rural, Bright has witnessed a huge change in his time. Having seen the extreme rate of development in his hometown of Lincoln which ultimately has driven his photographic interests in the direction that it has.
I had just turned one when my parents bought a plot of land and built our first bach on the West Coast; a small hut just big enough for two sets of bunks and a kitchen, and only a few minuets walk down Truman Track to the beach. Five years later they up sized and bought a bach in Atarau, surrounded by acres of native bush and a river running along our boundary line. This is where we spent every holiday when I was growing up.
As an adult, I feel privileged to have had this experience and feel so connected to place; a place where people have a real relationship with the landscape. A place where people seem to live within the land and not just on top of it.
This body of work documents the areas of rural New Zealand that are close to home for me: focusing on the Selwyn district and the West Coast. This project came from a desire to spend more time within these regions and document the place and people as they are. But to also explore the culture that exists there and try and understand the reality of living somewhere geographically removed from a ‘big city’. The main aspect of this exploration being people’s relationships to the natural environment.