FADE in collaboration with historian Matt Elliott was first exhibited at the TSB Wallace Arts Centre – Pah Homestead gallery in Auckland for 10 weeks from Sep to Nov 16. It was part of the Auckland Heritage Festival and Artweek Auckland. Straight after, it traveled up North to be showcased in the heart of the Hokianga at No 1 Parnell gallery in Rawene in December / January 17, at Whangarei Art Museum from Feb – April 17 to then return to Auckland’s North Shore ‘The Depot Artspace’ in Devonport in July / August 2017. Since FADE opened in Sep 16 it was seen by more than 30.000 visitors and was featured in the summer edition (#160) of ‘Art New Zealand’ with a write-up by poet Riemke Ensing. For more check out the blog.
Dotted across the Northland countryside on roadsides, hilltops and marae sit dozens of tiny, wooden churches. 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 whanau – 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.
FADE invites the viewers to step into a selection of these churches and explore their sense of fade, both physical and temporal. It is an opportunity to connect with and experience some of our cultural and architectural treasures. We can gaze at the present, glimpse the faded past of history and memory and hope for continued futures.