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Beauty and its purpose
Hong Kong hideaway
New Zealand artist Mark Schdroski has been domiciled in Hong Kong for the last fifteen years. He lives with his partner, jeweller Edmond Chin, in Central Hong Kong. They own two apartments side by side, which they have developed into a single dwelling. Chin's clients are international; actresses wear Chin diamonds to the Academy Awards.
Bridget Williams Books continues its re-writing of New Zealand's history, with the publication of A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brooks. Last year's Tangata Whenua did a brilliant job of recording a comprehensive Māori history, and A History of New Zealand Women sets out to re-position our cultural narrative of women. By exploring key periods and events through the lens of women's experience, the book "sheds a more holistic light on the way we view ourselves, and the understanding of where we've come from."
I very much admire Bridget Williams' mission. When we talked last week about the politics of publishing, Williams said that we must always live on the bridge between cultures. Her approach is very inclusive and collaborative, which makes for a much more rounded interpretation of our history. As a technician she understands the importance of the interplay between images and text, her histories are brought alive through photography and art. Artwork from Star Gossage graces the cover of A History of New Zealand Women. A woman's face is peaceful but her heart; the heart swirls.
Gossage continues her ascent as a significant New Zealand artist with a new exhibition at Tim Melville Gallery in Newton, Auckland. Gossage and Solomon Enos explore Mana Moana in the new body of work, a movement inspired by Tongan philosopher Epeli Hau'ofa who espoused an ocean-based philosophy, and strengthening of connections rather than "land-based thought systems that divide and separate." Gossage's characteristic style is there, so too the sunshine, the flora and the colour of the Pacific.
Chapter ten of A History of New Zealand Women opens with a photograph of my parents Pius and Arapera Blank, outside St John's Church in Rangitukia, where they were married in 1958. The minister leans forward to hongi my father, a Swiss migrant who'd been in New Zealand only six years at the time.
Arapera was quietly secure in her own aesthetic. She was also an English graduate; an Anglophile, obsessed with Shakespeare and Yates. She spoke English with an upper-crust accent. As Arapera moved from the country to the city and integrated herself into an increasingly European world, her look, her European husband, the Queen's English – these things were her weapons,
My favourite Swiss aunt was Tante Zita, an exquisitely thin, elegant woman and
Anxiety lived in Tante Zita like the purr of the hummingbird. It was constant and focused. Zita worried about her favourite and youngest brother Pius, who lived half a world away and had married into an indigenous culture she didn't understand. My three cousins, daughters of Tante Cecile and young girls when they met Arapera in 1960, were fascinated by my mother, who would sit quietly as the family chatted in Swiss-German. The girls were especially thrilled when Arapera took them swimming in Lake Konstanz, which forms a border between Switzerland and Germany. Because the locals admired the alien.
A History of New Zealand Women - Barbara Brookes in bookstores and online at http://bwb.co.nz/
Mana Moana AKL HNL - Star Gossage and Solomon Enos at Tim Melville Gallery, 4
For someone I love - a collection of writing by Arapera Blank in bookstores and online at www.oranui.co.nz