The many faces of love by Alessia Belsito-Riera
Romantic expression has morphed over time as cultures and traditions have intersected and blended. Love and Marriage: Images of Romantic Unions – curated by 2023 Liz Stringer scholarship recipient Karis Evans at New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata until the 10th of March – explores the vast wilderness of romance through 32 pieces spanning 150 years.
Marrying works from photographic archives and art collections, the exhibition examines the differences between cultural norms and lived experiences, mapping and re-drafting assumptions and definitions to present a more comprehensive picture of what love and marriage looks like in New Zealand.
“The works selected for inclusion in Love and Marriage show us that romance thrives in a range of social and historical contexts,” Evans says, explaining that where wedding photographs underscore the historical importance of tradition, Kiwi artists offer a more nuanced perspective of romantic unions.
From the fantastical realms created by Claudia Kogachi, the pseudo-anthropological perspective of Mark Braunias, through to the cynicism of Jacqueline Fahey and Laura Williams, the portraiture on display depicts the myriad faces of love.
The artists “engage with the idea of love in its broadest possible sense – reflecting on their own marriage, critiquing the cultural significance of marriage, or depicting love that has formed outside of a formal union, perhaps even on the margins of mainstream sensibility,” Evans continues.
You too can add your perspective of what love looks like in Aotearoa by contributing to the digital gallery at www.nzportraitgallery.org.nz