Sheila at Mojo's Nightclub, Auckland, 1975

Production date
1975
2010
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Object detail

Accession No
83/15
Primary Maker
Fiona Clark
Fiona Clark
Primary Maker
Brief Description
Sheila, wearing a sparkly dress, is seated on a cream seat posing in front of a reddish/orange patterned wallpaper background.
Primary Prod Date
1975
2010
Media/Materials Description
Colour photograph - original work
colour photograph on Ilford Galerie Gold Fiber Silk - reproduced work
Measurement Description
243 x 161mm - original work
243 x 161mm with 15mm border - reproduced work
395 x 455mm framed
Credit Line
Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from Monica Brewster Bequest in 1983.
Description
In the early 1970s, Fiona Clark, then a student at Elam School of Fine Arts, began photographing Auckland’s gay, lesbian and transgender community. Her photographs record a time of intense social change in New Zealand, and a community of individuals who, by their very existence, posed a challenge to conservative social order. Clark faced censorship in 1975 when two of her photographs taken at a Gay Lib dance at Auckland University toured the country as part of the exhibition The Active Eye. Headlines of outrage accompanied the show around the country; “Mayor shocked by dancing pictures” and “Gallery withdraws ‘indecent’ exhibition”. The photographs were removed from view at many venues, and the exhibition never opened in Auckland.

Twenty-seven years later in 2002, the photographs were shown again in the ground-breaking exhibition Go Girl at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Recent portraits and video interviews with some of the original subjects supplemented Clark’s larger body of work from the 1970s. For Clark, the continued survival of the community is a key element to understanding her 1970s photographs. As such, this body of work tracks a 27-year period of ‘coming out’ in New Zealand.

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