Family Tree Whakapapa brings together the work of four sisters: elin o’Hara Slavick, Madeleine Slavick, Sarah Slavick and Susanne Slavick.
As curators, painters, photographers and writers, all have incorporated images of trees in social, political and environmental conditions — trees that stand as refuge and livelihood, consumed and consuming, under assault and triumphant, as historical record and as harbinger of things to come. Family Tree Whakapapa offers perspectives both unsettling and soothing as nature increasingly reflects salient issues of our times.
Based on experiences in Japan, elin presents photographic works that bear witness to the ongoing aftermath of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the nuclear power disaster in Fukushima.
Madeleine's photographs decry the marginalisation of trees, they reveal dichotomies and their collapses in our experience of nature in environments both rural and urban.
Sarah's paintings explore the underground life of trees in an elegiac series that conveys both grief and hope, for what is threatened and for what might survive through possible strategies that trees offer for all species on the planet.
Susanne hand paints trees derived from ‘tree of life’ carpet designs over printed scenes of environmental destruction and depredation. These trees do not lie down like doormats; they rise up and persist, suggesting the possibility of recovery.
A full-colour publication accompanies the exhibition, with an essay by Katherine Guinness and a poem by Rawiri Smith.
Artist Talk: Saturday 12 December, 11am.
The recording from the artists talk is available on Aratoi's YouTube channel.
The artists would like to acknowledge support from the following: