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Te taha o te rangi: Fiona Pardington Photography Exhibition To Open In Timaru's Aigantighe Gallery

Photo Credit: Fiona Pardington, Lovers, Timaru, South Canterbury Museum, 2024, in the exhibition Te taha o te rangi at the Aigantighe Art Gallery, image courtesy of artist, and STARKWHITE.

Aigantighe Art Gallery is excited to announce "Te taha o te rangi" ("The Edge of the Heavens"), a significant new photographic exhibition by acclaimed Māori artist Dr Fiona Pardington.

"We are thrilled to present an opportunity for art enthusiasts in Te Waipounamu (the South Island) to experience works, from one of Aotearoa’s leading photographers. While some pieces may have graced the walls of Starkwhite in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), earlier this year, our showcase promises a fresh encounter for visitors. The collection brings a nationally significant exhibition to South Canterbury,” Aigantighe Art Gallery Exhibitions Curator, Isobel Hillman said.

During a visit to the South Canterbury Museum in 2023 Dr Pardington, was captivated by the dynamic and lifelike quality of the of native birds. The now South Canterbury based artist began focusing on photographing the birds' heads, treating them like human portraits.

Dr Pardington said this new approach allowed her to delve deeply into her new local surroundings and community, having only relocated to South Canterbury in 2019, a change of pace from busy Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). The exhibition title: "Te taha o te rangi" signifies the sky and horizon, reflecting the seaward views around Te tihi o maru (Timaru) and the boundless allure of the infinite.

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“The edge, rather than the centre appeals to me. The edge is still the centre, and it unwinds forever, whichever distance covered or turn taken,” Dr Pardington said.

Birds have always been integral to Pardington’s photography. For Māori, birds are sources of sustenance, materials for kahu huruhuru (feather cloaks), and messengers between the spiritual and physical worlds. “In my photographs, they symbolize whakapapa (genealogy), ecological concerns, mortality, and significant individuals in my life,” Dr Pardington said.

“Pardington’s photography quite literally breathes life into these native bird taxidermy specimens, and it really is a testament to her skill as an artist. She revitalizes these taxidermy specimens, giving them a dynamic presence that transcends their static form. These native birds evoke the symbolic trope Memento mori, encouraging viewers to explore the interplay between nature and artifice, life and death, and the connection between birds and the heavens,” Hillman said.

“This exhibition highlights and celebrates Dr Pardington’s unique Kaupapa Māori perspective and her whanaungatanga (strong ties) to her new South Canterbury home. It is also very special that all our exhibitions currently on display have a tangata whenua focus, with all the artists also being Māori”.

“The Aigantighe Gallery also wishes to acknowledge Starkwhite, and to give special thanks to the artist, Dr Fiona Pardington, for the opportunity to show this exhibition,” Cara Fitzgerald, Aigantighe Art Gallery Manager said.

“Aigantighe Art Gallery appreciates the collaborative support of the South Canterbury Museum, we are very fortunate to have a Huia taxidermy specimen on display in the exhibition, on loan from the Museum,” Fitzgerald said.

The exhibition will be open from June 14th to August 4th, 2024. The Gallery is open 10-4pm Tuesday- Friday, and 12-4pm Saturday-Sunday. Free Admission. For more information, please contact the Gallery, +64 3 688 4424.

About Aigantighe Gallery:

The Aigantighe Gallery is committed to presenting exceptional art that showcases the cultural heritage and contemporary practices of our community. We strive to engage and inspire our visitors through diverse and innovative exhibitions.

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