Listen to artist Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) in conversation with curator and The Dowse director Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi, Te Uriroroi) on the opening weekend of his explosive exhibition, Black Matter.
Featuring Reuben’s signature use of glitter, this series of large scale canvases capture explosions of fireworks in the night sky. This striking subject matter reminds us of the celebrations associated with firework displays, and the many associations we make with them.
Originally produced and exhibited in 2017 in support of Black Lives Matter protests in the USA and across the globe, this series takes on new significance four years later as people become more engaged in conversations about how we negotiate shared space, individualism and ideas of togetherness.
In essence, Black Matter is an in-depth interrogation of how gender, sexual orientation and skin colour may position us within a global context. There is a personal element to this for Paterson who has constantly navigated these complex social and political territories throughout his career.