Memories of a Naturalist

Ayesha Green, Lucy Meyle, Kate Mary Ogston, Nova Paul, George Malcolm Thomson, and Keri Whaitiri

22 November 2022

The install of Memories of a Naturalist is underway here at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the exhibition I’ve been lucky enough to work on for my internship.The exhibition is a combination of works from the Gallery’s collection, archival material and historical art works from Uare Taoka o Hākena the Hocken Collections, work from the PaemanuNgāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts loan collection housed here at the Gallery, an artist loan and a new commission. These artworks and archival documents look to the tracks and traces of plants and animals in common landscapes and environments, offering impressions of how these are coalescing and changing in a climatically disturbed world. I was interested in the idea of worldmaking too; whereby the worlds we inhabit are imaginatively shaped, remade and interpreted. This is evident in the depiction of late-19th century acclimatisation societies, where species of animals and plants were introduced ad hoc to Aotearoa New Zealand as an attempt to remake the environment into a new world. Or where day-to-day reality is pulled open to alternate worlds outside of colonial frameworks, imagining decolonial thought through the materials of art. I think this quote from the writer Ursula Le Guin sums it up best: “It is a strange realism, but it is a strange reality.[1] The exhibition will open with a public floor talk with Lucy Meyle, Keri Whaitiri and myself at 3:30pm on Saturday, November 26, followed by refreshments from 4:30pm. There will be more public programmes coming up over the next four months too, so visit the events page of our website for details.

[1] Ursula Le Guin, ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, Dancing at the Edge of the World, New York: Grove Press, 1989. p.170


Noho ora maiSimon PalenskiIhupukutaka Kairauhī Curatorial Intern, Dunedin Public Art Gallery[image: Lucy Meyle Research image (detail)  2022. Courtesy of the artist.] 

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