Our Mothers; Ourselves
Linwood Community Arts Centre - Te Whare Roimata Trust. Corner Stanmore and Worcester, Christchurch, New Zealand.
9-21 October 2006
opening function monday 5-7 pm 9 October
with the support of Creative Communities Christchurch

Tiffany Thornley and Jane Zusters reflect on the joys and sorrows of their mothers as old age survivors.

We were both affected by the role reversal of going from being child to being parent of our Mums. Using installation, video and artists books we unpack our mother's lives in relation to ourselves through revealing long held secrets. Its funny, its sad and oh so serious this encounter with extreme old age.

30 years ago Jane Zusters and Tiffany Thornley baked the first health food bread in Christchurch at Chippenham Commune's Bakery . As well as baking together they shared a studio and etching press and modeled for each other. Their friendship continued over the years and when Jane returned to live in Christchurch because of her aging parents Tiffany invited her to collaborate on an exhibition about their mothers and aging and how it affected their lives. Tiffany's mother Freda lived with her and her husband Paul for 5 years. Freda thought that Tiffany was her sister Marjory and eventually that Tiffany was her mother. She thought Harekeke club was school and that she was top of the class. Last year Jane's Mum Edna had a stroke. Afterwards she found it difficult to make new memories or know what happened the day before. Her imaginary friend from childhood returned and she went back to calling herself by her childhood name of Edna May. She loved to tell stories from her childhood but would ask everyone to hit her on the bonker and say "Dear God, please kill me dead now".

These compelling and highly charged works by Thornley and Zusters invite us to reflect on aging, family and what it is to love. How we treat our elders is a reflection upon ourselves.

Wetware- a mutable water , new lens work on the body by Jacqui Blanchard, Fear Brampton, Maree Henry, Jan Nigro, Mark Summerville and Jane Zusters
26 April-11 May 2006
Artstation-Te Toi,
1 Ponsonby Road,
Some morphology
9-27 May 2006
Miranda Playfair and Jane Zusters
Blue Oyster Project Space,

A filmic decollage of supersaturated colour juxtaposing the human form with lush,tropical foliage and the haunting call of the kokako, DVD 10 mins

Who Can Say,
Southland Museum & Art Gallery -Niho O Te Taiwha
Queens Park, Invercargill,
Aotearoa New Zealand
27 August-16 October 2005
Opening function 27 August
Paintings, photographs and digital video made during the time that Jane was
the William Hodges Fellow.

Trekking South

In 1978 Jane Zusters photographed angels in Southland cemeteries. Decades later she returns to the region and embarks on a physical and conceptual journey exploring the tension between reality and our search for the sublime.

Zusters assumes the role of explorer, documenting this 'new' land as though visiting Southland for the very first time. Taking nothing for granted, Zusters absorbs her surroundings. Roadways, street scenes, tearooms; manmade systems and landmarks dominate the photographic process. While images document everyday life and the daily rituals of people who live in this urban environment, these snapshots convey underlying conflict between natural and industrialised landscapes.

Seemingly shot from surveillance cameras, Zusters films the steady flow of traffic at the McDonald's drive thru. In a cemetery across town she photographs angelic tombstones, their wings seemingly tangled in overhead telephone lines and power cables. Zusters layers these polar images: angel at MaDonald's haunts this photograph of destruction at the hands of corporate giants. Further a field, Zusters' image of the Waiau River is divided in two. A stunning landscape upstaged by signage that publicises power companies' endeavours to 'control' the river in an act promoted as 'A World First'.

Zusters is a social scientist, intrepid adventurer and archaeologist. WHO can say presents horrific scenes of torture at Iraq's Abu Gharib prison alongside references to the Aramoana Smelter. Distressing images of devastation and humiliation float in a landscape of glowing doilies and painted surfaces. This chaotic narrative encroaches on Southland to challenge perception, subvert 'fact', contradict and ignite discussion. Zusters unearths half truths, weaving her findings into scenes impossible to ignore: no matter how far south we travel, relief cannot be found.

The journey south continues as Zusters goes in search of the transcendent world William Hodges once knew. Milford Grave, a gothic scene connected to the artists' waterfall paintings and digital landscapes, reveals grandeur, balance and mortality in a majestic setting. Zusters' scene is tinged with suspicion as this very real, yet unlikely resting place could well be an illusion. Glowing painted waterfalls and dark landscapes are obstructed by doilies and patterns while free flowing digital imagery denies this journey any beginning or end.

Zusters' travels are fuelled by awareness and the desire to find the point at which natural and urban landscapes collide and coexist. Reacting against the romantic and constructed descriptions of Southland, Zusters' raw photographic images, digital installations, sound loops and paintings provide a provocative consideration of regeneration, development, the synthetic world and our desire to devour nature. Hodges' romantic notions are denied as the sublime merges with reality.

Gina Irish
Gina Irish is a Christchurch based freelance writer and regular contributor to Art New Zealand and Object, Australia.


Wednesday 1st June to Tuesday 7th June

re: Where did you go to my lovely ...
In a lush, colour saturated 20 minute DVD two women reflect on friendship,art, mental health and the 1975 Wellington United Women's Convention. While still a student Jane Zusters shot a roll of black and white film at that Convention. The resulting images will be seen for the first time ever at Pataka. The show runs from 1 - 7 June at PATAKA Gallery, Norrie and Parumoana Streets, Porirua.

Where did you go to my lovely... occurs as an invited guest of another cultural gathering. It is the 30 year reunion of New Zealand's Women's Convention in Wellington from the 3-6 June 2005. Zusters says "From those photos I shot at the convention in 1975 I revisited two women captured in the same frame , who have been my life-long friends. Allie was a controversial keynote speaker at the 1975 Convention. Julia was in my 3rd form class at Christchurch Girl's High. Recently I was part of a group of friends who supported her during her cancer treatment in the last great adventure of her life. Julia had a well informed political consciousness. As students we marched against the Vietnam War, nuclear ship visits, US military installations and the abortion law. I discovered that my two friends, who never knew each other, had something in common. They had both been given ECT shock treatment in the 70's. This is my retake on those times."

Where did you go to my lovely...is an ongoing project that Zusters began in 2001 when she participated in an artist's explore digital technology project at the ASA Gallery in Auckland. Seated in a recreated 70's lounge, visitors will have the opportunity to don white gloves and view Zusters' 70's photographs. This collection is a unique treasure. Christchurch born Zusters in her youth, moved in creative and radical, political circles. Student film maker Vincent Ward, photographers Lawrence Aberhart and Rhondda Bosworth and painter Jeffrey Harris, are a few of the names now familar to us. A second album revisits 25 people who have been rephotographed in relationship with their photograph from the past.

Stephanie Beth's groundbreaking film I want to be Joan, will also be shown. It is a 16 mm film commissioned in 1977 by the organizers of the second New Zealand Women's Convention. It was shot during the actual convention and gives voice to ordinary women who had never before spoken in public. The paintings of Jacqueline Fahey and Robin White accompany the dialogue.

These compelling and highly charged works by Beth and Zusters invite us to step back in time and reflect on how our society has changed in the intervening years.

PATAKA Hours:  Mon-Sat 10am - 4.30pm Sun 11am - 4.30pm Mon (Queen's Birthday) - 12 -4pm

Out of the Woods; Te-Wao-Nui-a Tane
25 September-10 November 2004

Opening function; 25 September,11am
Studio Gallery, Te Tuhi-The Mark
13 Reeves Rd, Pakaranga, Manakau City, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Campbell Grant Galleries
, Christchurch, NZ
Opened 30th September 2003, 5.30pm

Astrolabe—an astronomical instrument for taking the altitude of the sun or stars and for the solution of other problems in astronomy and navigation (The Random House Dictionary of the English Language).

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell
And there’s no one there to raise them if you did
And this science I don’t understand
It’s just my job five days a week to be
A rocket man, a rocket man

(Rocket Man, 1972, Music by Elton John,
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin)

“It looks like lemon yoghurt icing on a biscuit, oh God, the biscuity bits have moved, it’s a communion wafer,” said Cush. When we peer through the telescope it is like a cream dot with a dark smudge in the middle and a fringe of white rimmed with red. We can’t see the famous canals or volcanoes, or the moons Phobos and Deimos. The luminous white arc at the top of the sphere is the Martian pole cap, made up of frozen carbon dioxide. As the temperature drops this expands, making the planet appear brighter and redder. With the naked eye Mars looks more like a classic gold-orange pointed star, like the ones that kids draw or that teachers award to model students by sticking on homework books. Although it is the planet most like Earth in atmosphere and size, and has seasons similar to ours there is no life on Mars. Well, not as we know it.

“Imagine the last time Mars came this close to Earth, there was another species of humans, Homo Neandertalensis, producing handflaked tools in Europe; Aboriginals were arriving in Australia, Homo sapiens was recovering from near extinction and the cave paintings of Chauvet, Lascaux were still in the remote future (William Sheehan, p 30, The New Zealand Listener, August 16, 2003).

Last night Mars was closer to earth than at any time in the past 57,000 years. At 9.30 p.m. Marc positioned his ten inch telescope on Cush’s Glenfield deck ready for 9.51 p.m. when the red planet was only 55,760,000 km from Earth, four times closer than its average distance of 228,000,000 km. Earth to Mars are you receiving me?

28 August, 2003


We are star dust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

(Woodstock, 1974, by Joni Mitchell)

When you look at a star you might think that it is an inanimate, distant and unresponsive body of gas. In fact stars contain or forge all the elements that make up humans and every other living thing. Stars manifest the intimate connection between the animate and the inanimate. Everything in the universe is interconnected, living and non-living, like the stromatolites—those amazing rocks that emit bubbles of air—and us human beings.

Stromatolites began harvesting solar energy billions of years ago, facilitating a chemical reaction, which changed the whole environment of Earth. This change in the environment made it possible for oxygen breathing beings like us to evolve. William Sheehan, the Martian chronicler comments that stromatolites appeared in pre-Cambrian times when there was a build up of blue-green algae. This algae was an ancient form of serotonin, a substance which the human brain uses to transmit signals, which convey thoughts and feelings. In a very real sense how we feel and what our moods might be are chemically connected over billions of years to the inanimate stromatolites—those strange, little rocks that breathe.
Marilyn Head in conversation with Jane Zusters and Cushla Parekowhai, Waiheke Island, 01 July 2003.


Here am I floating round my tin can,
Far above the Moon,
Planet earth is blue,
And there’s nothing I can do

(Space Oddity by David Bowie)

On my last visit home to Christchurch I was cleaning some of Mum’s drawers in the basement and found two metres of groovy, grey and orange outer space fabric. In 1958 the year after the Russians launched sputnik Mum made my brother John, a space shirt from this material. We were all mad about outer space in Miss Cooper’s standard one – three class at Waipara School. I cut out every newspaper space clipping I could find and read about astronauts in training. I drew astronauts floating weightless in the cockpit of their rocket. I was doing a school project called The Moon and Outer Space. It’s still is around somewhere. My sister Susan and I formed a secret society called Space Cadets. That summer we trained to be astronauts and shut ourselves in dark cupboards to practice “sensory deprivation”, hung upside down in trees and launched ourselves into space by jumping over and over again from the top of a wooden post. A rusty, tin bath under the pine trees became our spacecraft. We provisioned our flights with weetbix and silverbeet nicked from the garden. Endlessly I chanted 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,zero, blast off as I fingered the controls crayoned on our tin rocket as we took off for Mars.
Telescope, titles and text thanks to Marc Bos, Marilyn Head and Cushla Parekowhai

For sales refer to Campbell Grant Gallery
191 Tuam Street.  Phone: 64 3 365-8300. Fax: 64 3 365-8301