Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Snapshots of Dominion Rd

It was made famous by the Muttonbirds and now a collective of photographers have opened an exhibition capturing the vibrant makeup of Dominion Rd.

Co-curated by Mt Roskill resident Jade Min and King Tong Ho, Dominion Road: The Shifting Urbanscape explores the cultural significance and ever-evolving nature of the thoroughfare.

"This exhibition is really for the locals," Dr Ho, an AUT arts and design lecturer, says.

"I think when you live in an area you can become so familiar with the environment that you often forget what's interesting about it."

Held at Artstation in Ponsonby, the photos are presented through the eyes of four different Chinese-Kiwi photographers.

They look at what the road means to its surrounding community. Dr Ho's photos are taken in documentary style, capturing the multicultural nature of a street.

From a cheeky picture in Hewitt's Fiddle Shop to a subtle image in Mykiwi Chinese Bookshop, photos reflect changes in living costs and ethnic makeup of many shops.

Each photographer takes a different approach to exploring life on the road.

Linda Ai's portraits focus on how inter-generational and ethnically diverse the street is, through several portraits of pregnant woman who live in the area.

"Dominion Rd is becoming a landmark of Auckland where different cultural elements blend with each other to form a unique character," she says.

The mother-of-two celebrated her daughter's first birthday on May 29 – a milestone that also marks a year since the project's conception.

Members of the exhibition have worked in their own time to bring the photos to the public, receiving no funding for the idea.

The four artists, as well as Ms Min, work under the Photowhisper Art Collective – a network of Chinese artists in New Zealand.

"I noticed in New Zealand there's a lot of Chinese artists from different generations who all have awesome ideas but not many places to exhibit their work outside of the Asian communities," says Ms Min, who has pushed the concept.

Like the exhibition, the aim of the collective is to open up discussion between Western and Eastern art communities about life in one of the world's most multicultural cities.

Dr Ho hopes to continue the project by making an online archive documenting photos which reference Dominion Rd.

Dominion Road: The Shifting Urbanscape runs as part of Auckland Festival of Photography, on until June 26.

An exhibition talk will be held at Artstation on June 14 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Visit for more information.

- Central Leader HANNAH SPYKSMA
Last updated 10:27 08/06/2011


IN THE FRAME: Jade Min, left, and Dr King Tong Ho, curators of the Dominion Road: The shifting urbanscape exhibition at Artstation in Ponsonby.

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