Artist Fiona Pardington talks about her work Host 1994 (from Medical Suite 1994–1999) which features in the exhibition Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, on show at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 5 March – 19 June 2016.
Audio and transcripts available in English and Mandarin.
Video available in New Zealand Sign Language.
Audio transcript (English)
This was just the beginning of me snooping around in medical text books. Posters from a particularly reprehensible book on tropical medicine by an English doctor who I would have liked to have strangled. He was so racist and so full of himself it was unbelievable but I suppose that’s just part of colonisation really and the thing that made this particularly sad was that this was a sexually transmitted disease so I think it’s a syphilitic chancre on the tongue, but look at the way he or she is photographed. The person is looking up, the photograph is taken above from a position of superiority and seems to be supplicant. So immediately for me it looked religious, I imagined the person at the front of the line at a Catholic church having the host popped on his tongue and straight away everything seemed to make sense to me because it explained so much about the whole idea of colonising a people – their bodies are colonised, their language is taken away from them, they have other gods introduced to them and theirs are removed from them, and they’re taken to their knees as disease decimates them. So really religion is like a colonial vector.
Audio transcript (Mandarin)