Toi o Tāmaki: The Gallery

by Amanda Schader

This poem was inspired by a Chinese film exhibit at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki –particularly Yang Fudong’s The Colored Sky: New Women II as well as the geothermal park, Wai-O-Tapu.

In the land of the long white cloud
Aotearoa
there are
…………girls trapped on five screens
…………among the ancient kauri trees
…………standing at attention beneath the gallery ceiling
…………scarlet….aquamarine….lemon
…………old-fashioned bathing suits….flowered hair caps
she stares……..i stare……..they stare……..we stare
in a dark room of color
as girls walk behind tinted glass
white skin turning pink, blue, yellow.

And they laugh when they see each other
splash through water to pet the horse,
but the film is silent and so are we
sitting on black cushion in black room.

Then they stop………..eyes wide
they all stop.
Pupils stretch to an abyss
– -capture their light, the only light
reflecting off our skin.

Girls on the cusp of
– -The Change.
But why is the deer fake and the horse real?
And you in the red, white and blue, you
…………look older than me, why?
…………as CGI snails push themselves over tight, wet
…………grapes
…………– -bright green like the Devil’s Bath, cold like it too.

Don’t go swimming in the Champagne Pool
or you will boil under the noon sun
skin turning pink without glass
as the Chinese girls step
…………out of the screen
…………across mini boardwalk to
…………snap-click-click
…………pictures of the American girl
…………floating in pink water
…………watching

…………white clouds rise.

 

Read an interview with Amanda here.

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