Fade explores the historical churches that dot the Northland countryside. The exhibition invites viewers to step into these churches and to explore their sense of fade, both physical and temporal.
Centuries of religious tradition and Maori culture were incorporated into these places of worship built following the arrival in the Hokianga of European Christian missionaries or later appropriated to accommodate followers of Ratana. In many instances, the settlements they were built to serve have ebbed away, leaving these buildings as the only reminder of ages past and the Whenua – Maori and Pakeha, lay and religious – who gathered in them to celebrate life, death, triumph or sorrow. The churches stand with what might be described as a quiet contentment but in differing states of repair. Where one houses nothing more than birds in the ceiling as the seasons gnaw at its exterior, others remain as functioning churches. They are buildings that offer quiet solitude to those who open their doors.
In many ways, these qualities act to increase their sense of the spiritual. Photography is a medium that also relies on fade and shadow for its power and this exhibition would like to show the churches as images that have been developing slowly over the last 150 years, their losses incorporated into their sense of space and into their conversations with whatever lies beyond. The exhibition aims to show the churches as they are now, their histories known, their futures unknown.
The images by Kathrin Simon are accompanied by writing by historian Matt Elliott.
Matt Elliott is a best-selling and award winning author of eleven books for adults and children. His non-fiction titles include sporting, cultural and historical biographies of New Zealand subjects. In 2012, his collaboration with illustrator Chris Slane ‘Nice Day for a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in WWI’ (based on Matt’s grandfather’s 1917 diary from the Western Front) won the Non-fiction and Book of the Year gongs at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. He contributes articles about local history and personalities to New Zealand Memories magazine and his most recent book, released in June, 2016, was ‘War Blacks: The extraordinary story of New Zealand’s World War I All Blacks’.
Kathrin Simon is an award winning photographer with a focus on documentary and storytelling. She has a passion and eye for seeing unique stories and presents them in a way that intrigues and inspires the audience. She works on self-initiated projects energised by what inspires herself in the world that surrounds her – the topics are diverse. Kathrin has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand and abroad. She enjoys collaborating with artists of other disciplines to intensify the story she is telling. Her latest show Full Moon Kingdom was one of the leading visual arts events of the Auckland Arts Festival 2016.
Saturday July 22 – Friday August 25