DP Photo Challenge: names, take 2

Headstone of Emily Keeling, a 17 year old girl shot in Auckland, 2 April, 1886. Image: Su Leslie, 2012

Seen several years ago in an old Auckland cemetery. I read the word “shot” on this headstone inscription and knew I had to learn more about the life of Emily Keeling. Image: Su Leslie, 2013

Sometimes, all that remains for us to know and honour the dead are their headstones in long-abandoned cemeteries.

Four years ago, I found — quite by accident — this headstone.

Sacred to the memory of Emily Mary the beloved daughter of George and Emily Keeling of Arch Hill who was shot while on her way to the Primitive Methodist Church Bible Class Alexandra Street April 2nd 1886. Aged 17 years.

Guns deaths have traditionally been rare New Zealand, so I was curious as to how a 17 year old girl came to be shot dead on what was, even in 1886, an urban street.

So like any family historian, I went home and researched the life and death of Emily Keeling.

It’s a tragic story. Emily was a victim of intimate, or partner, violence — shot by a young man whose offer of marriage she had rejected.

I’ve written about Emily’s story in more detail in other posts:

And now for something completely different

A monument to loss, and a touchstone for action

Remembering Emily Keeling and working to end domestic violence

Four years ago the name Emily Keeling meant nothing to me. Now that I know her story, she has joined that tragically long list of names of New Zealand women murdered by men who knew and claimed to love them.

Names we must never forget — a list we must work to end.

WP Photo Challenge: symbol

Kowhai: the unofficial national flower of New Zealand, and symbol of Women's Refuge NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Kowhai: the unofficial national flower of New Zealand, and symbol of Women’s Refuge NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The native New Zealand Kowhai tree is known and loved for its healing properties and beauty. Our logo features its delicate, vibrant flower in the universal symbol of women — the perfect portrayal of Women’s Refuge and our values. Women’s Refuge NZ

Symbol: noun. something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign. Source: Dictionary.com

Logos are a particular subset of symbols; a visual representation of a brand, rather than a concept. In the case of Women’s Refuge, it’s a social, not a commercial brand; a symbol of hope and healing for the thousands of (mainly) women and children in this country who are affected by domestic violence.

I have a strong connection with Women’s Refuge through my involvement with NZ Sculpture OnShore which raises funds for, and awareness of, the work Refuge does.

It is in part because of these fundraising efforts that Women’s Refuge has been able to develop a source of sustainable income.  Yellow Belle (a very apt description of the kowhai flower), is a chain of upmarket recycled women’s clothing boutiques. The stores accept donations of designer clothing and on-sell it — generating valuable income and helping to increase awareness of domestic violence and Refuge’s work. A second brand, Kowhai Tree, is currently being developed to focus on sourcing, warehousing and distributing household goods and clothing to women and children leaving Refuge — many of whom arrive with no more than the clothes they are wearing.

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Single Kowhai flower. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

So for me, seeing Kowhai trees in bloom — as they are at the moment —  is especially meaningful.

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Kowhai buds. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written for the Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge. The theme this week is “symbol.

PS: this is the actual Women’s Refuge logo.

Logo of Women's Refuge New Zealand.

Logo of Women’s Refuge New Zealand.

Moving on from colour: form and texture in sculpture

Detail of Wolf Habichhorst's nikau garden light sculptures, NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie. Edited with Snapseed.

Detail of Wolf Habichhorst’s nikau garden light sculptures, NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie.

I think sculpture is a great medium to photograph in black and white. Without the distraction of colour, we can focus on forms and textures; like the folded wire mesh of Wolf Habichhorst’s garden lights, or the wood grain in Karen Walters’ carved seed pods.

Detail from Karen Walters, 'Tree of Golden Pods', NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, edited with Snapseed.

Detail from Karen Walters, Tree of Golden Pods, NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie.

Cast and rendered works , like Frank Watson’s The Thoughtful Fish and Sam Harrison’s Gretchen, reveal textures that are a legacy of their production processes.

Frank Watson, 'The Thoughtful Fish', NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie. Edited with Snapseed.

Frank Watson, The Thoughtful Fish, NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie.

Sam Harrison, 'Gretchen.' NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie

Sam Harrison, Gretchen. NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie

All of these images are taken from the outdoor sculpture exhibition, NZ Sculpture OnShore. As well as being New Zealand’s largest such exhibition, is also a fund-raiser for Women’s Refuge — donating over $1.5m to the cause since its inception. The exhibition is held on a beautiful cliff-top location, overlooking the harbour. On a sunny day, the backdrop of sparkling water and blue sky can enhance visitors’ enjoyment of the huge range of work exhibited. But sometimes, we can better see the artist’s vision and intent by taking away the colours of sea and sky. I think it’s easier to focus on the play of light and shade in Rebecca Rose’s ‘In Flight Entertainment’ without gazing at the background blues and greens of trees and ocean.

Rebecca Rose, 'In Flight Entertainment.' NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie

Rebecca Rose, In Flight Entertainment. NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge. You can see Sally’s photos, and find out more here.

Body-subject, body-object: pictures from an exhibition #3

Lang Ea, 'Listen', 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Lang Ea, Listen, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Piled in the entryway of an underground tunnel at a historic military site; Lang Ea’s cement heads – eyes closed, without ears – were for me the most powerful work at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Lang Ea came to New Zealand from Cambodia as a child, and this work, ‘Listen’ resonates with the imagery of Cambodia’s brutal Khmer past.

On the other side of a small glade, in another underground room, Sam Harrison’s ‘Gretchen’  leans against a wall. Exhibited at an event which raises funds for Women’s Refuge, this work inevitably suggest a strong emotional response, yet many visitors have been moved by the simple beauty of her form.

Sam Harrison, 'Gretchen', 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Sam Harrison, Gretchen, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Detail of Ramon Robertson's 'Only in the World' 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Detail of Ramon Robertson’s Only in the World 2014. Background scuplture, Jamie Pickenell, Beach Master, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Ramon Robertson is a Scottish artist now living in New Zealand. His work often features plaster and concrete figures – apparently mass produced, yet somehow unique. The title of this work comes from French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s statement “only in the context of the world we inhabit do we know who we are and what our purpose is.”

Detail of Anna Korver's The Three Sisters, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Detail of Anna Korver’s The Three Sisters, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

In contrast to the human forms depicted in the other artists’ work, Taranaki-based sculptor Anna Korver allows the garment to represent the form. She has developed a considerable body of work based on “the dress.” This piece in basalt is one of three that was exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore.

This post was written as part of Sally’s Phoneography and non SLR Digital Photo Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. This week the theme is black and white.

 

 

Six word Saturday: hanging out for a quiet cuppa

The closest I'll get to a peaceful cup of tea with the crossword until NZ Sculpture OnShore is over. Detail of Kevin McCardell's 'Best Seat in the House, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie

The closest I’ll get to a peaceful cup of tea with the crossword until NZ Sculpture OnShore is over. Detail of Kevin McCardell’s ‘Best Seat in the House, 2014. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore. Photo: Su Leslie

It’s the last weekend of the exhibition. By 6pm tomorrow , we’ll be turning off the lights and waving goodbye to the stragglers after 10 full days of being open to the public. Anyone in Auckland this weekend — last chance to see an amazing outdoor sculpture exhibition that raises funds for Women’s Refuge.

Six Word Saturday: photographing sculptures in the exhibition gallery

Jin Ling, Dove Girl. Photo: Su Leslie

Jin Ling, Dove Girl. To be exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie

Installation for NZ Sculpture OnShore has begun. Artists have been delivering and siting work since Thursday. This piece arrived from Whangarei-based sculptor Jin Ling, along with several more of her tranquil and beautiful terracotta sculptures.

Today, in between receipting new arrivals, moving plinths and organising the stock room, I will try to get round and photograph some more of the work.

NZ Sculpture OnShore is New Zealand’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition, and a major fundraiser for Women’s Refuge. It opens on Thursday. I’ve been doing pro bono marketing work for the  organisation for the last 18 months, as we have prepared for this exhibition (the 10th biennial).

You can find out more from our website or FaceBook page.

(not exactly) Six Word Saturday: remembering why I’m working this weekend

Kowhai; a New Zealand native (the word means yellow in Maori). Kowhai is also the symbol on the Women's Refuge logo. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Kowhai; a New Zealand native (the word means yellow in Maori). My kowhai tree is in full bloom and full of tui (a native honeyeater) feeding. I’m hoping this is a good omen for NZ Sculpture OnShore next month. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Kowhai: symbol of Women’s Refuge NZ

With only a month to go until NZ Scupture OnShore opens, I’m crazy busy. FaceBook posts, email newsletters, invitations, reminders … my head’s exploding with all the stuff I need to do. But when the gates open and people come to enjoy the art and the scenery (and best of all, buy work) it will all be worthwhile. New Zealand artists will sell their work, and both they and Women’s Refuge will benefit.

And in the meantime, I can go outside and watch the tui in the kowhai when it all gets too much.

Art for art’s sake; money for Women’s Refuge (with apologies to 10cc)

Sally Tagg, Pollen Hybrid, 2008. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore in 2008. Photographed in its new home in a private collection. Photo: Tom Gray: 2013.

Sally Tagg, Pollen Hybrid, 2008. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore in 2008. Photographed in its new home in a private collection. Photo: Tom Gray: 2013.

The Oxford Dictionary online defines art as:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

While it’s true that we can experience art anywhere, in anything we find beautiful or moving, I have a particular love of the fine arts. I am most passionate about sculpture and film, and am incredibly lucky to work with an arts organisation. I help organise NZ Sculpture OnShore, a biennial sculpture exhibition which raises funds for New Zealand Women’s Refuge. This stroke of luck means I am able to experience wonderful  “expressions and applications of human creative skill” on an almost daily basis.

Ocean Swell by Rod Davies, photographed at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2012.Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Rod Davies, Ocean Swell, 2012. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore, 2012.Photographed at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, 2013. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

My role within the organization is to market the event; to bring as many people as possible through the gates to view and enjoy some of the best contemporary New Zealand sculpture. The equation is simple: more visitors = more money. More money means more that Women’s Refuge can do to help women and their children  escape from abusive relationships and build new, better lives.

So far, we have donated $1.34 million dollars to the cause. We have funded a respite house, educational materials, special packs for children entering refuges – sometimes in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs – Continue reading