Raise the anchor, unfurl the sails, set course to the centre of an ever setting sun!
by Nathan Pohio
Raise the anchor, unfurl the sails, set course to the centre of an ever setting sun! is an illuminated, grand scale image artwork created for SCAPE 8 New Intimacies
Nathan Pohio lives and works in Ōtautahi. His moving-image works draw on a variety of photographic and cinematic practices. Since first exhibiting in the late 1990s, Pohio has continuously worked to represent the indigenous voice within the field of Expanded Cinema, a field first defined in 1970 by Gene Youngblood in a book by the same name. Youngblood argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. Pohio perceives indigenous voices present within this notion as he notes that distinctive developments within the language of cinema occur over time and internationally.
In his work, Raise the anchor, unfurl the sails, set course to the centre of an ever setting sun!, Pohio has cropped an image sourced from a 1905 edition of the Canterbury times, which depicts Māori leaders on horseback in full ceremonial dress, korowai and kākahu (cloaks), flanking Lord and Lady Plunket in their motorcar on a visit to Kaiapoi. The tight crop around the subjects is reminiscent of heroic line-ups of characters from early popular cinema, particularly the poster for Magnificent Seven (1960) directed by John Sturges, a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film, Seven Samurai. This iconic film inspired generations of film-makers, and although Pohio’s image predates the famous western poster by some 50 years, his re-presentation of it uses similar cinematic language. Illuminated at a grand scale and a proportion approximating Panavision for SCAPE 8 New Intimacies, the 110-year-old image reads like a billboard for the latest blockbuster. Sited in the Park of Remembrance, it offers acknowledgement of the histories of Ōtautahi - Christchurch and the meetings of cultures alongside the Ōtākaro - Avon River. It offers the viewer a chance to imagine the narratives of these characters and what these stories mean for a city currently reimagining itself.
Nathan Pohio is a conceptual artist working in video and other photo media, producing minimal cinematic installations. Nathan Pohio (Kāti Mamoe, Ngāi Tahu and Waitaha) graduated with an MFA with merit in film, University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2010. Pohio's moving-image works draw on a variety of photographic and cinematic practices from early lenticular prints to the experimental and documentary genre. Selected projects include These Stories Began before We Arrived, WXY Gallery, 5F, 385 Xin Yi Road, Section 4Taipei, Taiwan; Asia New Zealand Foundation / Creative New Zealand’s Curator’s Tour programme; Among The Machines, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2013); Spyglass Field Recordings: Santa Fe; Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe (2013); Was that cannon fire or my heart pounding?, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington (2012); and Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2010). Pohio was the recipient of the James Ormond Wallace Artist Residency and a Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi travel grant to said residency in La Rongère, France (2008) and Santa Fe Art Institute (2012) and M.O.C.N.A (2013). He is based in Christchurch and is an established board member of contemporary art space, The Physics Room, and Exhibition Designer/Assistant Curator at Te Puna o Waiwhetu.