It’s scary to think that I’m now in the final two months of my degree, with it all wrapping up with a graduate exhibition at Pataka in November.
I started the third year in February after an eight year break and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I wanted to immerse myself in photography this year to re-focus before establishing my career as a photographer, achieve a degree to open up the possibility of tutoring in future and also with a goal of discovering myself as a photographic artist.
For the third year, all students within the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts & Design) do a body of work project which lasts the full academic year. I knew before I started that I wanted to do my project about something really close to my heart. Late last year the idea came to mind to find out more about my great-great grandmother, Joanna MacKinnon, who was New Zealand’s first Plunket nurse. Here she is receiving her medal from early Plunket ambassador Lady Plunket in 1908.
Even though this might make me sound crazy, I still wonder until this day if it was my calling to showcase Joanna’s pioneering efforts. I feel a huge sense of pride to be telling her story this year but also a huge sense of duty to do her justice as her great-great granddaughter.
Not only did I want to find out who Joanna was as a person but how she influenced Plunket. My line of enquiry became ‘How can one person influence an organisation?’ For the first half of the year I researched both Joanna and Plunket founder, Sir. Frederick Truby King, as I wanted to find out if Joanna agreed with Truby’s beliefs and how he influenced her as the first Plunket nurse. Joanna was the only nurse to receive one-on-one training from him.
The works to follow are what I produced between February and July and they showed in my mid-year exhibition.
Next time I’ll show you some photos from my mid-year exhibition. After the exhibition we presented to tutors and external guests about how we felt we did in the show and where we’re wanting to take the project next. Now with their feedback on board, I’ve decided to focus on Joanna for the final phase and am exploring collage and projection.
If you’ve got any questions or comments about my work, I’d love to hear from you.
Please seek my written permission before re-producing any of the above works.