The Slipping Away

6 July – 7 September | FREE ENTRY

Exhibition Launch 6 July 4.00 – 6.00PM

4.00pm | Hīkoi commences from Michael Parekowhai’s The Lighthouse, Queens Wharf, Auckland led by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei)
5.00pm | Hāngī served at Gus Fisher Gallery
5.15pm | Ian Wedde remembers Bill Culbert
4.00 – 6.00pm | The Slipping Away exhibition open to the public for viewing


Gus Fisher Gallery stands on the city’s original shoreline. Overlooking Point Britomart, Shortland Street was the first main street in Auckland. The land beyond the gallery to the current shoreline is reclaimed wharf. The exhibition’s title refers to a place in Official Bay called The Slipping Away / Te Hororoa which was the site of a historic tragedy when part of a pā slipped into the sea causing a number of people to perish. This was seen as a bad omen and was thought to foretell the later invasion of Ngāti Whātua from the North West. The exhibition’s multifaceted title therefore refers to a physical place, a historic tragedy and a possible warning of things to come.

The Slipping Away brings together pivotal works by leading artists to explore the duality of oceans and humankind. We aim to prompt pertinent conversations about sustainability, plastic pollution and rising sea levels at a point of criticality in 2019. Acknowledging the ocean as a living breathing entity, we will forge important discussions on the health of our seas and enable discourse on the personhood of Moana.

Plastic pollution has now reached the deepest points of the Earth’s oceans. It exists seven miles beneath the surface in the Mariana Trench. As supermarkets ban single use plastic bags and images of sea life tangled in plastic waste fill social media feeds, is it possible to prevent what feels like an inevitable man-made destruction of our blue planet? Aotearoa New Zealand has over 15,000 kilometres of stunning coastline, yet as an island nation renowned for its natural beauty we collectively produce over five times the global daily waste average making it the 10th most wasteful nation in the world.

Recognising plastic pollution as the most devastating problem affecting our oceans, we advocate for a momentary pause to consider the value and meaning that Moana brings to all of our lives. Throughout future programming, Gus Fisher Gallery will return to debates on the natural environment as we categorically argue for a better and more sustainable way of living.


Our sincere thanks goes to the participating artists and lending institutions:
SUPERFLEX (Denmark), Bill Culbert (Aotearoa New Zealand), Joyce Campbell (Aotearoa New Zealand), Mata Aho Collective (Aotearoa New Zealand), Raewyn Martyn (Aotearoa New Zealand), Terry Urbahn (Aotearoa New Zealand), Christchurch Art Gallery, The University of Auckland Art Collection.