Ka Koriki Te Manu / The Chorus of the Birds
Absence / Ngaronga
Koekoea / Long Tailed Cuckoo
gold tone silver gelatin print
955 x 840 mm framed
The photography practice of Fiona Pardington (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Clan Cameron) has gained her recognition as one of New Zealand’s most renowned artists. She holds a Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts, and was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to photography. Her practice features clean and contemporary takes on classical art tropes, such as the still life and Vanitas, contoured with Māori ancestral reference.
Her images function as both documentary and drama. The Chorus of The Birds series are examples of Fionas deep inquiry into loss. Pardington relentlessly documents the heitiki or preserved birds as examples of cultural taonga lodged within Museum collections. Some of these heitiki can be traced back to specific places and tribal relationships, for others these links are shadowy or lost. Their potency, beauty and cultural significance however is not, and these individual items become emblematic for meaning persisting and even expanding over time
Excerpt from Hamish Coney and Connie Dwyer
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