This exhibition pivots around artist and designer Cecelia Kumeroa (Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāparāngi) and environmental scientist Dr. Billy van Uitregt’s (Ngā Rauru, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāparāngi, Tuhoe, Dutch) collaborative moving image work – Dawn Chorus (2022). Their work uses the sounds of birds recorded at Bushy Park Tarapuruhi by Dr. van Uitregt which are then visually animated by Kumeroa. It’s a work that speaks very specifically to here in Whanganui and to a future where native birds are flourishing, singing all the time.
Providing extra context for Dawn Chorus are works from the Sarjeant Gallery’s permanent collection by Gabrielle Belz (Ngāpuhi, Te Ātiawa) and Matt Pine (Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāparāngi, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) speaking to the loss of habitat and increasingly precarious status birds occupy within contemporary society. The title Theatre Country refers to Geoff Park’s seminal collection of essays on landscape and whenua; examining the ongoing effects from colonisation on the natural habitat and wildlife.
Image: Matt Pine, Weka (from Generations Endangered series), 1994 (1996/13/1). Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1996.