The photographs of Dust to Dust are not simply representations of the land; rather they are constructed landscapes that reveal new meanings that shape a sense of place and belonging. The title of this series makes reference to part of the Book of Common Prayer; ‘…from ashes to ashes, dust to dust…’ is loosely based around Genesis 3:19 scripture and used during burial services, which suggests an inevitable return of the body back to landscape. In both Māori and Pacific Island custom, the connection to land is instilled in birth and practiced through the burial of placenta to bind one to the homeland. Dust to Dust embodies the process of palimpsest, to suggest a layering of history, experience and meaning.
Seeking to project landscape as a physical and multi-sensory medium, each photograph in Dust to Dust is constructed by merging multiple views of the land to create a singular landscape. Local landmarks such as the Leopards League club and AMI Netball stadium become bearings to explore a myriad of temporal and spatial connections to land. By re-visiting familiar landmarks each work compiles discreet histories of a particular landscape in Maungarei (Mount Wellington).
Dust to Dust 2013-2015, Henderson Billboards Project.
Dust to Dust 2011, TSB Wallace Arts Centre.
Dust to Dust, Henderson billboards project 2013-ongoing
Ane Tonga’s photographic series Dust to Dust merges multiple views of landscape into a single image to reveal new meanings that shape a sense of place and belonging in Maungarei (Mount Wellington). Residing in Maungarei for most of her life, the series is informed by her experiences and layered with research of historically recorded moments in the area.
Dust to Dust’s four images include an aerial view from Maungarei, overlooking uniform plots of housing within a new residential development; a rugby field that acts as an elevated stage for performance; and an aerial view of the newly developed netball stadium all of which recall ideas of nationalism, colonial settlement and the development over ‘uninhibited lands.’ Tonga comments,
“I’m interested in how historical narratives of landscape are remade in a contemporary context. Landscape had the ability to become symbols of power in colonial imagery and the development of housing mirrored a successful transfer of European lifestyle, which is embodied through architecture. This type of alluring imagery has continued to draw people to New Zealand. Additionally, national sports such as netball and rugby have then allowed migrant communities to partake and be part of a national identity.”
Ane Tonga is a practicing artist and curator based in Auckland. Much of her artistic practice references traditional art forms and cultural practices, tracking their evolution into a modern, multi-cultural society.
Dust to Dust is the second exhibition of While You Wait, a billboard exhibition series for the Henderson Rail Station platform organized by Auckland Council, and supported with funding from the Henderson-Massey Local Board.
The exhibition is presented as part of the Southside Arts Festival 2013, a showcase of the vibrant art, creativity and talent of South Auckland running from17 October. http://www.southside.org.nz/
Dust to Dust will remain on view at the Henderson Railway Station following the festival period into 2015.