memorialising a direct act of protest...
15 December 2020
Gary Blackman’s photograph Aramoana (1980) is a marker of the strong and unwavering opposition to the proposed aluminium smelter at Aramoana in the 1970s and early 1980s – memorialising a direct act of protest. As part of the proposal process, a large sign outlining details of the smelter was installed on the site. This was eventually vandalised with a large splash of black paint that rendered it almost illegible. In a letter written on a back of an exhibition flyer that featured this image, Ralph Hotere wrote to his friend Bill Manhire that it was ‘probably the best painting I’ve done in 30 years. It took me 2 seconds.’*
Gary Blackman’s Aramoana is currently on display in Ralph Hotere: Ātete (to resist).
*Quoted in Kriselle Baker, The Desire of the Line: Ralph Hotere Figurative Works, Auckland University Press, 2005, p. x.
Noho ora mai, Lauren Gutsell
Curator, Dunedin Public Art Gallery
[above: GARY BLACKMAN Aramoana 1980. Gelatin silver print on paper. Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 2004 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.]