The Slipping Away
6 July – 7 September 2019
SUPERFLEX (Denmark), Bill Culbert (Aotearoa New Zealand), Joyce Campbell (Aotearoa New Zealand), Mata Aho Collective Erena Baker (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangātira), Sarah Hudson (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe), Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Terri Te Tau (Rangitāne ki Wairarapa), Raewyn Martyn (Aotearoa New Zealand), Terry Urbahn (Aotearoa New Zealand), Christchurch Art Gallery, The University of Auckland Art Collection.
Gus Fisher Gallery stands on the city’s original shoreline. Overlooking Point Britomart, Shortland Street was the first main street in Tāmaki Makaurau. 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 explores the duality of oceans and humankind. The exhibition aims 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, the exhibition considers the health of our seas and enables 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 it produces 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, this exhibition advocates for a momentary pause to consider the value and meaning that Moana brings to our lives.