I went to a show in Toyko last year.
One of my friends was showing his photos.
He'd made a photobook to go along with them.
I liked this idea, so I determined that I would make a photobook too.
I only had about a week left, then I had to return to NZ before my visa ran out.
So, one day, I decided that I would take as many good photos as I could
and make this into a photobook.
This is that day.
I was staying in a place called Nakano-Shimbashi,
which is where I had my first job teaching English many years ago.
I hadn't been back there in at least 10 years.
The little English School, run by two Australian brothers, was in the basement of a building,
round the corner from the station.
I remember my first time going there, being unable to find it and asking for help at the convenience store.
The girl at the convenience store walked with me round the corner into the office building where on
one of the letter boxes a small sticker was placed with the name of the school 'Friends'.
Now, the English School was no longer there. It had gone bankrupt soon after I left.
Coming back here after all those years, my intense love for Japan came rushing back at me, full force.
This day was a hot summer day, just like any other.
I made my way to Shinjuku, one of the main city centres.
On the way I passed gas stations, daycare centres, mechanical workshops...
then gradually as I approached closer towards Shinjuku more people started appearing.
I felt the closeness of my relationship with the camera.
The camera became like an extension of myself.
Rather than looking for anything special,
it was a document of my steps and my senses.
This day too, wasn't anything special.
Just a hot summer day, like any other.
Pascal Harris was born in Dunedin and grew up in a family of artists. He studied music at the University of Otago and then at the Royal College of Music, London. He has played concerts as a pianist for many years and released two CDs of Schubert Impromptus and Mozart Sonatas.
Harris lived in Tokyo for several years and developed an obsession with photography there. Since returning to New Zealand he has had several photography exhibitions and more recently has exhibited
assemblages and sculptural work involving found objects.
Currently he has an exhibition on at Gallery 85 in Whanganui 'Caring for the Lost Body', which is the result of an artist residency at the Glasgow Art Centre, Whanganui in August 2023 and January 2024.
In April, Harris will have an exhibition at Tata Bookshop / Gallery in Tokyo and will also start a course in Fashion Design at Bunka Fashion College, Tokyo.
Pascal's brother Felix Harris will be exhibiting recent paintings in gallery room 1, next door, opening on the same evening. (His exhibition is under our Gilberd Marriott Gallery brand, for artists working in mediums other than photography.)
'Growing up in Silence' is extended - Monday 29 January to Friday 2 February, 10am to 1pm only.
Viewing by appointment also available.
We're marking the occasion of the gallery's 25th birthday on 9th December 2023 from 12 noon till 2pm, cutting the cake at 1pm. There is a display of laser-copied photos from the history of the gallery showing in room 3.
I'd like to acknowledge here the support the gallery has received from so many people, recently and over its quarter-century of existence. In particular, my wife Denise Durkin; Mark Marriott - who literally helped build the place, and for his solid ten-plus years of help and creative energy; and Karen Lee - who helped mind the place for years to give me a bit of a break, and for a lot of good advice. I couldn't have started the gallery and kept it running without all of you.
The wall display in room 3 is far from comprehensive; it will show just a smattering of the goings-on over the decades. Compiling the photos has been an emotional experience as there are many people in them who were regular visitors and exhibitors but who sadly have died, some just this year. I would like to thank Reg Feuz, Mark Beehre, John Williams, Mark Marriott and Helen Mitchell for contributing photos. Your time, effort and generosity is greatly appreciated.
The photo display will be on show till 27th January 2024.
Photospace will be closed from 23rd December to 7th January, inclusive, with exhibition viewing by appointment available.
Thomas Slade - 'Growing up in Silence' 2nD December 2023 to 27 January 2024, Photospace Gallery, Wellington, Aotearoa new Zealand
'Growing up in Silence' opens on Friday 1 December at 5pm and runs until 27 January, 2024. The gallery will be closed over the Christmas-New Year period but viewing by appointment will be available on some days. The gallery website will have the dates on it in due course.
'Growing up in Silence' is Thomas Slade's second solo exhibition at Photospace Gallery, after 'What Brings You Here?' in 2017. He curated the exhibition 'Four x Five x Six' in 2018.
Artist statement & bio below.
I can recall my first encounter with Māori resentment towards colonisation in 1991. I was watching a One News story about the protests at Pākaitore over local Iwi’s claim to that area of land. I can still remember the first thought that occurred to me as a 12 year old Pākehā – “ohh get over it, that was ages ago”. I’m deeply saddened and embarrassed that my culture had fostered such an ignorant and unempathetic position. As a young Pākehā who thought New Zealand was a paradise decorated with cricket pitches and rugby fields, it was my first experience that all was not well in paradise and deep-seated tensions, resulting from colonial injustices remained unresolved.
My experience is not isolated but is symbolic of how many Pākehā navigate their position in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The European control of the historical narrative has worked hard to leave out the destructive practices of colonisation in favour of the more comfortable settler narrative. This has left many of us ignorant and poorly equipped to understand what it means to be Pākehā and to navigate the relations between, and our shared history with Māori.
As I have begun a journey to better understanding my identity as a Pākehā and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand I have confronted the European systems that were established through colonisation. Anne Salmond (p. 2) recognises how these European ‘forms of order’ are so often invisible as they have become the ‘common sense’ and everyday systems we use to structure our lives. Using photography’s strength of representation, I am holding these systems up for critique to highlight how they are culturally designed to serve Pākehā. As observed by Moana Jackson “There is a Westminster constitutional system shaped to serve Pākehā interests in England and then imposed here”. For Māori, this is “a foreign construct”.
I am hoping that by representing this cultural imbalance in the control of power it can prompt other Pākehā to consider their understanding of history and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
- Thomas Slade, 2023
Thomas Slade - bio
I am an artist who works with the medium of photography. I am currently living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, where I am completing a creative PhD at Massey University. My focus as an artist is on creating research-driven bodies of work and my current PhD practice examines my own Pākehā identity and the impact of colonisation in Aotearoa, New Zealand. My photography explores Pākehā culture and examines characteristics such as our rural heritage and relationship to land. I have exhibited my photography throughout New Zealand since 2013. I am an Associate Fellow of Higher Education and Learning (UKPSF Framework) and have over eight years of experience teaching photography at a tertiary level. I find this role to be a great support to my artistic practice and enjoy the opportunity to give back to current students the positive experience I have had in education. My future aims as an artist are to continue working in photography, research and education. Outside of my work I find great balance to the studio by competing in sports and getting lost in the mountains.
Photography Matters II