Hidden in Plain Site - photographs of Naenae by John Pennington, shows at Photospace Gallery from 4th to 27th February, 2021. The opening is on Thursday, February 4th, 5pm-7pm, along with Mary Hutchinson's exhibition 'Windscreen Washers 2012-2018'.
The work in this exhibition: Hidden in Plain Site is a selection of work from a five-year (ongoing) project. Stylistically, the work incorporates documentary, portraiture, and street photography that aims to reflect some of the realities of this multi-layered suburb.
Viewed from a contemporary perspective, Naenae might seem like just another ordinary working-class Hutt Valley suburb. Such a view would fail to register the rich historical, social, urban design and optimistic political organising that underpinned the early development of the suburb. Built to house soldiers returning from WWII, Naenae incorporated elements from the English garden city movement, cooperative politics, the modernist designs of the Austrian architect Ernst Plischke, and an optimistic vision for a different type of communal living. Constructed in the aftermath of a global crisis and reflecting the desire to emerge into a different kind of world, perhaps there are lessons to be learned from Naenae as we think through and beyond our own current global crises.
John Pennington is a Wellington-based photographer. He is a member of the Photobook NZ organising committee. His photographic interests include rocks, urban spaces, and going out into the world. Hidden in Plain Site is his first exhibition at Photospace Gallery.
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