wellington-new-zealand

Jacqueline Fraser

Peter McLeavey Gallery

Jacqueline Fraser’s installation, The Flagellation of the True Voice, 1999, carries on her tradition of improbably light and elegant stories of loss and destruction associated with the colonization of New Zealand. Within a setting that approximates the heavily shrouded ambiance of a Victorian parlor, she considers the fatal contact between the Maori and some of New Zealand’s earliest and roughest European immigrants. At the heart of her tale is measles, a disease that, once introduced by European settlers, ravaged the Maori population on New Zealand’s South Island, in the 1830s. The artist’s methods of installation here effect a fairy-tale transformation, dignifying what can only be described as a grotesque tale. Fraser has perfected the polite insult, and her reference to this fatal disease as “the whaler’s gift” in the text accompanying the exhibition exemplifies the pointed nature of

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