JANE ZUSTERS – TE KARORO KARORO : A PLACE CALLED HOME : THE RED ZONE CLEARANCES : CHRISTCHURCH/ŌTAUTAHI
Extended until 6 March
Wallace Arts Trust Collection Gallery
red zone clearances
a tree house
me scurrying with my camera
ahead of the bulldozers
I got the title a place called home from graffiti on the foreshore. Te Karoro Karoro / South Shore was once a Waitaha mahinga kai / food basket at the edge of the Pacific. When I was a baby my parents bought a section off Rockinghorse Road for 50 pounds and relocated an old chicken incubator which Dad turned into a bach. We had a coal range, tilley lanterns and a long drop. Dad was a teacher and we spent the school holidays there swimming and fishing and running wild. Over my growing up our wild paradise turned into suburb with electricity and sewage. Mum lost her view of the estuary from the kitchen sink. We don’t have that bach anymore but the site of the old family bach has its view back because of the red zone clearances and the destruction caused by the Christchurch earthquakes. There have been clearances and forced removals at South Shore or Te Karoro Karoro whose original Maori name translates as the seagull’s voices. The New Zealand Government acquired 7041 properties intending that all the houses were removed and the land cleared by April 2016.
I photographed a wetland, suburban landscape that once was home to hundreds of people. First, I photographed the abandoned houses and then the tracks and traces of human habitations, the sheds, driveways and paths that were erased as phase two of the red zone clearance. Flooding, land subsidence and liquefaction destroyed many seaside homes. The government ruled that much of South Shore was unsafe to rebuild on and forced those owners to sell to the Crown. Removal vans were followed by demolition trucks and diggers and then graders levelling the earth and new grass being sewn. The obvious signs of the trauma have now gone. The habitation traces like the broken fences, testify to a vanished suburban lifestyle. The waterfront detritus is a mute reminder of an ongoing narrative of erasure,
I have spent my life as an art voyager
Jane Zusters, 2020–2021
Over four decades, Jane Zusters has developed a broad, open, and experimental approach to her art practice, establishing a significant career as a painter, photographer and art educator. The recipient of several major grants, awards and residencies, she is constantly re-evaluating her practice and creating new challenges.
In the mid-1970s, along with several woman artists of her generation, she embraced feminism, exploring issues of identity, gender and self, the personal as political, and the autobiographical.
During the 1980s, Jane Zusters’ highly personalised blend of figuration and abstraction, vibrant palette and expressive mark making, took on its own authority within contemporary New Zealand art. Since returning to the South Island in 2004, themes have included land and water issues, as our ecosystems and wildlife come under constant threat.
As a multi-media artist, Jane Zusters moves freely between painting, photography and ceramics. Her provocative ceramics of the late 1970s and early 1980s are noteworthy and her video works of recent years illustrate Jane Zusters’ desire to embrace technology and extend her practice.
Consistently, Jane Zusters’ output is underpinned by perceptive observations of the human condition.