The title of Russ Flatt’s exhibition of ten new photographs refers to a powerful group of 19th Century Hawkes Bay farmers and businessmen known as the Twelve Apostles.
In 1870 the group purchased the 19,000 acre Heretaunga Block. They acquired the land from businessman Thomas Tanner, who had been leasing it illegally before (somewhat underhandedly) buying it from Māori. Wāhi tapu were destroyed, access to food sources was removed, and within three years the Heretaunga Block was used to lay out the city of Hastings.
Russ Flatt’s new photographs explore this contested whenua.
In a development of the photographs and moving image work he created with support from Creative New Zealand for Te Ahua, Te Wa, Te Atea – curated in 2022 by Toni MacKinnon at MTG Hawke’s Bay – Flatt uses 3D LiDAR scanner film technology and point cloud mapping to create works which, in his words, “acknowledge our histories while envisioning paths forward.”
Histories seems spiralled into the present in these images of ethereal female figures who still defiantly occupy the veiled landscapes of their whenua.
Nau mai, Haere mai.