Farrar says she wanted to place a woman artist in a place of prominence, and that it was important to her to open the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa with “a strongly feminist statement". It's a fitting spot for this series of photos, which speak about issues facing women with a unique and humourous voice.
Hunter soon realised painting wasn't the best medium to express her political ideas and ambitions, and that photography allowed her the total control of being both the subject and the artist. She worked at the forefront of the feminist art movement and feminist theory, and exhibited her photographs with various collectives of woman artists during the 1970s.
Hunter worked in commercial animation to support herself as an artist, and other works in The Model’s Revenge are similar to film strips, telling small stories through series of photographs that let viewers apply their own narratives and prejudices. One series of “photographed performance” shows a beautifully manicured woman's hand fondling a fabric-clad object, which is eventually revealed to be a video camera and then turned out towards the viewer in the last frame with yet another visual punchline.
Hunter firmly believed that art was a vehicle for communication to speak to the masses, so her works are befitting of a national institution where many visitors are not a traditional arts audience. Farrar is glad that the museum can inspire its visitors, with this and other exhibitions, to ask “what moment are we part of?” and “is Hunter’s work still relevant to audiences today?” In the artist’s own words: "While there’s inequality and patriarchy in the world there’s a need for women-centred theory and philosophy and direct action."
We love Alexis Hunter and strongly recommend you get to Te Papa and see these wonderful photographs before the exhibition ends on the 26th February. Find out more about her and the show on their website.