Mark Adams is one of New Zealand’s foremost documentary photographers. His work on Samoan Tattau, Maori-Pakeha interactions in and around Rotorua, and the documentation of Cook’s landing sites reflect his engagement with our postcolonial Pacific history. “His work is an engagement with the deep artful, bloody and inextricably complicated histories of colonialism in the Pacific”. Nicholas Thomas, Cook’s Sites
In ‘Cook’s Sites’, Mark Adams travels to the places where Cook landed in the South Pacific, instilling a haunting sense of presence to these sites, Adams photographically commemorates the instant of encounter, defining it as a moment of discovery, violence and mutual reciprocity. For this series Mark also focuses on key historic sites illustrated by painters William Hodges and John Webber who accompanied Cook on his voyages. His portrayal allows us to look out from these paintings and reassess the history of these culturally loaded locations. As Adams has often said, he likes to invert the colonial gaze, highlighting the complications of representation.
Mark Adam’s ‘Land of Memories’ series is also concerned with the layers of meaning inscribed into the landscape by our culture. Taken with Marks’s signature long exposures, they appear painterly and ghostly, emphasising the temporal nature of the images and the fluidity of meaning associated with these places.
His works have been shown at in the Auckland City gallery, Te Papa, The Brisbane Museum, The Adam Gallery Wellington, Sydney Museum, Zelda Cheatle Gallery London, The National Library Canberra, Sao Paolo Biennale 1997 and many other major museums.
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