until 15 August 2021
This exhibition, the missionaries, continues Shelton’s exploration of the powerful and complex relationships between colonisation, nationalism, feminism and plants, within the context of Aotearoa. In Shelton’s striking photographs she creates contrived plant arrangements set against the musty colour palette of the 19th century Arts and Crafts movement. These domestic botanical epitaphs engage the reasons emigrants brought plants with them to Aotearoa - how these plants fostered a sense of ‘comfort’ by transplanting something familiar to an unfamiliar landscape, and creating a sense of control over their environment. But these arrangements also address the consequences of these interventions ecologically and environmentally on the fragile ecology of Aotearoa.
Shelton’s photographic still lifes examine the utilitarian uses, contemporary consequences, lost narratives and histories of these plants. In particular, they examine the intersections of these histories with human knowledge systems, with Western notions of home building and with colonising strategies that continue to be exerted through the organisation, trade, aestheticisation and distribution of plants.
Ann Shelton was born in Timaru. Shelton completed a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia (2001), Vancouver, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1995) from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University. She is currently Honorary Fellow in Photography at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Wellington.