Malcolm Smith Gallery, Estuary Art and Ecology Prize 12 (2018)

Roma Anderson, Aura, 29.7 x 42 cm, black & white SX70 Polaroid, mounted for display,  2018.


Artist Statement:

The Tāmaki estuary retains the sense of another world. It continues to resist urbanization, its dense and intricate root systems the habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna.

The networks of streams that feed into the Tāmaki River and its estuary in Pakuranga are vulnerable. The dense wildlife surrounding one has been razed, the remnants left to rot in the heat- obstructing waterflow and affecting the life cycles of plants, eels and other small guppies.

Aura investigates the life that remains despite this destruction and neglect, the nuanced changes in energy of the estuary and its organisms. The monochrome film plays into the estuary’s present and past, the polaroids speaking to conventions of framing nature and colonial methods of aesthetic land valuation.

Yet, chemical fingers and reflections of light speak to something more than purely physical, an ephemerality that displays the estuary’s beauty and spirit. The polaroids offer a soft nostalgia and impermanence in their status as an object, a fragile tactility that invites you to come closer, to look closer.

The mangroves are, and remain, complex and resilient agents in a world that continues to threaten and undermine them.

Roma Anderson, artist


Exhibition Statment:

The only contemporary art prize in Aotearoa New Zealand with ecology at its core. Artists are invited to research and respond to the Tāmaki Estuary, to underscore the ecological value of this vital waterway and encourage action against its pollution.

Malcolm Smith Gallery


Coverage: Courtesy of ArtsDiary