The Comfort of Things is Edith Amituanai‘s first exhibition with new Wellington dealer Robert Heald and the show consists of photographs that are typically low-key. Sometimes they involve interior shots of starkly lit and sparsely filled living rooms. On first encounter, it’s easy to write them off as banal when, in fact, they are simply quiet and therein lies their charm.
Amituanai takes an interest in the lives of others and uses her camera to better understand those around her. She has staged scenes using members of her own family (Mrs Amituanai, 2005) and documented the experience of Burmese immigrants to Auckland (La Fine Del Mondo, 2009-2010). The show contains a selection of photographs from both series, and others. No grand gestures here, the works are relatively small and convey a quiet confidence. Their domestic scale means they would look equally at home in the family rooms they depict and it’s this slippage between public artwork and private snapshot that makes them so captivating.
Edith Amituanai : The comfort of things, Robert Heald Gallery, 209 Leftbank, Cuba Mall, Wellington, until June 26.