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Black Power at City Gallery

Black Power at City Gallery

The blackness in Lonnie Hutchinson’s work seduces as the colour of power and potential. Parallel Seductions, part of the Telecom sponsored 2 x 2 Contemporary Projects, follows on thematically from her 2005 Australian exhibition This Show is What I Do. Both exhibitions present drawings alongside sculptural works, each medium different yet speaking across each other and to the colour black.

Hutchinson, of Ngai Tahu and Samoan descent, has been exhibiting regularly in New Zealand and internationally since the late 1990s. In this exhibition, in a flowing confident brushstroke, Hutchinson paints intimate large-scale drawings of women directly onto the gallery walls. Hutchinson’s distinctive iconography is suggestive of a symbolic protection. The work is sensual, seductive and politically charged.

Hutchinson, the first Pacific woman artist to be awarded the Macmillan Brown artist-in-residence at the University of Canterbury (2000), is attracting significant international attention. She features in Pasifika Styles 2006, at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, England. She also has prestigious forthcoming projects in Chile and at the Shanghai Biennale.

Emma Bugden, exhibition curator says, “Hutchinson has talked of a connection between these works and the sex industry, sex slavery and the historical practice of ‘black birding’ (the practice of kidnapping black workers into labour during the 1800s). The drawings reclaim this painful history of servitude, and the aftermath of exoticism which colonialism has carried with it. The women in Hutchinson’s drawings may be seductive, but they’re also strong and knowing in their vampiness. Their enticement of us is strictly on their terms.”

City Gallery Wellington is pleased to present 2 x 2 Contemporary Projects, a series of two exhibitions, each showcasing two contemporary artists’ solo exhibitions – photographer Edith Amituanai and Palmerston North-based painter Kelcy Taratoa in the first and Hutchinson and 2005 Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award winner Sriwhana Spong in the second. Fresh and innovative, these artworks and artists are at the forefront of contemporary practices.

Whilst these are four distinct exhibitions, each with their own sets of agendas and concerns, they have been carefully selected by curator Emma Bugden to speak to each other, to generate dialogue. Individually they explore a diverse range of issues from the impact of colonisation on Maori identity to the never-ending resonance of a heritage in a distant land. Together they create a conversation about the complexity of personal and cultural identity in today’s urban and global environment.

Lonnie Hutchinson
Parallel Seductions
2 x 2 Contemporary Projects:
Lonnie Hutchinson/Sriwhana Spong
City Gallery Wellington, 5 August – 24 September 2006

Free Entry
Principal Sponsor: Telecom


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