Identity: Hue III

Shannon Novak, Artist

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in 2021.
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Object Detail

About the Work
Exhibition label for 'Spürensuche' exhibited at Sarjeant on the Quay during Pride Week 2021. The selection of works and companion texts were a collaborative project between the artist Shannon Novak and independent Whanganui-based curator, Milly Mitchell-Anyon.

This selection of works draws from the Sarjeant Gallery's permanent collection and is coupled with photographs by Shannon Novak captured during a research trip to Whanganui in 2020. The works depict roses from Whanganui in various states of bloom, with the artist making the contrast between the blooms and the variance of openness he felt after talking to locals from the LGBTQI+ community - with some being deeply closeted, some in a questioning phase and some fully out. The contrast between the works from the Gallery's collection and Novak's roses tie to the past to the present.
The title takes inspiration from Paul Diamond's reserach into Charles Mackay shooting D'Arcy Cresswell in his offices, just around the corner from this building, on Ridgway Street,in 1920. Diamond cites that his reserach has been a continous search for 'spürensuche' or traces. Similarly, searching for 'queerness' in collections despite historical erasure and exclusion is like sifting through coded traces. As theorist Jennifer Doyle highlights 'queer readings [of art] give us our maps, our user's manuals for dinging pleasure in a world more often than not organised around that pleasure's annihilation.' Mapping queerness keeps our histories visible.
To read something as queer is a way of internally coding the world as a safer space. It must not be forgotten that in Qotearoas until the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed in 1986 it was against the law to be a gay man.
This darkness still lingers for many in the LGBTQIA+ community, and so when e look to Novak's rose works representing the different shades of love and openness; we can celebrate the present but recognise that significant progress still needs to be made.
This record has related works.
Frame 450 x 345 mm
Image 420 x 315 mm
digital C-Type print
Part of 'Identity: Hue Series (I-V)'. Colour photograph mounted in a black box frame. The photograph is a closeup of a bright pink rose bud with dew drops on the petals. Across the image are a series of thin straight hot pink lines that cross the image at varying angles.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of the artist, for the local rainbow community, 2022
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
21 Mar 2023



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