Fiona Pardington

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Fiona Pardington

Fiona Pardington MNZM (cropped).jpg
Pardington in 2017
Fiona Dorothy Cameron

1961 (age 57–58)
Devonport, New Zealand
EducationElam School of Fine Arts (BFA, 1984; MFA, 2003; DocFA, 2013)
Known forPhotography
AwardsChevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016)
Arts Foundation Laureate Award (2011)
Visa Gold Art Award (1991, 1997)

Fiona Dorothy Pardington MNZM (born 1961) is a New Zealand artist, her principal medium being photography.

Early life and education[edit]

Pardington was born Fiona Dorothy Cameron in Devonport, and was brought up on Auckland's Hibiscus Coast, where she attended Orewa College.[1] She descends from three Māori iwi, (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Ngāti Kahungunu), and the Scottish Clan Cameron of Erracht.[2] Knowing that she wanted to become a photographer from the age of six, Pardington studied photography at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1984.[3]

In 2003, Pardington graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) and in 2013 graduated with a Doctor of Fine Arts in Photography.[4] She has throughout her career held the position of lecturer, tutor, assessor and moderator on photography, design and fine arts programmes at universities and polytechnics throughout New Zealand.[5]

Pardington's brother Neil Pardington (11 months her junior) is also a well-known photographer and book designer.[6]

Career, themes and style[edit]

Early in her career, Pardington worked from a feminist viewpoint to explore themes of love and sex, the representation and perception of the body, and the construction of gender and identity.[7] She specialised in 'pure' or analog photography darkroom techniques, most notably hand printing and toning.[8]

In the 1980s, borrowing from early, highly romanticized pictorialist photography, Pardington challenged the social construction of the eternal feminine by making theatrical photographs of the female nude.

In 1990 Pardington won the prestigious Moet et Chandon New Zealand Art Foundation Fellowship.[1] She won the Visa Gold Art Award in 1991 for Soft Target, a work framed with beaten, studded copper and gold-painted wood, that is encrusted with contradictory religious images and texts.[9]

Pardington was the recipient of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago in both 1996 and 1997. In 1997 Pardington won the Visa Gold Art Award for a second time with Taniwha, 1996, a close up of a bar of soap, a colonial relic with an appropriated Māori name.[10]

In 2001 Pardington was the Auckland Unitec Institute of Technology Artist in Residence and began a body of work examining extant collections of cultural objects or taonga (treasures) in New Zealand's museums.

In 2005 the New Zealand Government gifted the Quai Branly Suite of Nine Hei tiki to the people of France.[11] Pardington is one of two Māori artists represented by the Musee du Quai Branly.[12]

In 2006 Pardington was the Ngāi Tahu Artist in Residence at the Otago Polytechnic, during which time she studied and photographed nests from the Otago Museum collection.

In 2010 Pardington completed a Laureate Artistic Creations Project with the Musée du Quai Branly, photographing more than fifty casts of Māori, Pacific and European heads, including casts of her Ngāi Tahu ancestors, held in the Musée Flaubert et d’Histoire de la Medecine in Rouen, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.[13] The casts made in the Pacific region during Dumont d’Urville’s last exploratory voyage of 1837-40 by the phrenologist Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier (1791-1871) included three tattooed warriors: Tangatahara and Piuraki (who are Ngai Tahu) and Matua Tawai (from Kororareka). Originally exhibited in vitrines outside the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, Ahua: A beautiful hesitation, was selected to be exhibited at the 17th Biennale of Sydney in May 2010, and was allocated a dedicated gallery space in the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The series is illustrated in The Pressure of Sunlight Falling, published by Otago University Press and was exhibited at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth and Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2011.[14]

Pardington's work Ake Ake Huia, holds the auction record for a single New Zealand photograph having sold in 2010 for NZ$30,385. Pardington's major work, the Quai Branly Suite of Nine Hei Tiki, holds the auction record for a New Zealand photographic work having sold in 2010 for NZ$64,278. This was one of only two complete sets made by the artist with the other set having been gifted to the people of France by the New Zealand government.[15]

Pardington's still-life imagery made in 2012 and 2013 have a painterly quality that visually reference seventeenth-century painting traditions as well as the 16th-century vanitas traditions.[16] The images are not only memento mori in the provision of poetic signs of time passing and things dying - from dandelion clocks to gecko skins - but of cultures meeting across seas.[17]

In 2013 Pardington completed a three-month artist's residency at the Colin McCahon House in Titirangi, Auckland.[18]

A major survey of Pardington's work, Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, featuring more than 100 photographs, was held at City Gallery Wellington in August - November 2015.[6] The exhibition travelled to Auckland Art Gallery in 2016.[19]

In February 2016 it was announced that Pardington had been selected by curator Fumio Nanjo for the first Honolulu Biennale, to be held in 2017.[20]

Fellowships, residencies and awards[edit]

Notable exhibitions[edit]

Solo exhibitions
Group exhibitions


  • Stuart McKenzie, Rising to the Blow, Épernay, France : Moet et Chandon, 1992. ISBN 0473016494
  • Kyla Macfarlane, One Night of Lovee, Hamilton: Waikato Museum of Art & History, 2001. ISBN 0908750188
  • Gina Irish, The Heart Derelict, Dunedin: Otago Polytechnic, 2006. ISBN 9780473137458
  • Fiona Pardington, Journey of the Sensualist, Whanganui: McNamara Gallery, 2008. ISBN 0958272425
  • Roger Boyce, Eros & Agape, Wellington: Suite Gallery, 2010.
  • Andrew Paul Wood, Blood & Roses, Christchurch: Jonathan Smart Gallery, 2011. ISBN 9780986458200
  • Andrew Paul Wood, Mushrooms : the champignons Barla, Christchurch: A.P. Wood Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9780473195038
  • Kriselle Baker and Elizabeth Rankin, Fiona Pardington : the pressure of sunlight falling, Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2011. ISBN 9781877578090
  • Aaron Lister et al., Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2015. ISBN 9781776560547

Public collections[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b New Zealand Photography from the 1840s to the present, William Main, John B. Turner, published by PhotoForum Inc, 1993
  2. ^ Contemporary New Zealand Photographers, Mountain View Publishing, 2005, pg 178
  3. ^ "Kete Aronui - Fiona Pardington - Television". NZ On Screen. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Biography: Dr Fiona Pardington - Photographer". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  5. ^ Contemporary New Zealand Art 2, Elizabeth Caughey and John Gow, published by David Bateman Ltd, 1999
  6. ^ a b Olds, Jeremy (2 August 2015). "The dark art of Fiona Pardington". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  7. ^ Art at Te Papa, Editor William McAloon, Te Papa press, 2009
  8. ^ "2007 Episode 12: Fiona Paddington / Poi | TV ONE SHOWS A-Z | TV ONE". 22 February 1999. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Soft Target I". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  10. ^ David Eggleton, Into The Light. A History of New Zealand Photography, Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, New Zealand, 2006, pp. 158-61
  11. ^ Wood, Stacey (21 May 2010). "Photos come out of art's shadows". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  12. ^ Contemporary New Zealand Photographers, Mountain View Publishing, 2005
  13. ^ "Phrenology in the Pacific – EyeContact". 11 June 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  14. ^ Virginia Were, Catalogues of Exoticism, ArtNews, Autumn 2010
  15. ^
  16. ^ Nga Wahanga: Excerpts from Fiona Pardington's Collections Catalogue, essay by Ane Tonga: “The State of the Object”
  17. ^ "Cultural Traffic | The Big Idea | Te Aria Nui". The Big Idea. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Summer 2013 In Residence | Art News New Zealand". 7 December 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  20. ^ Sheat, Hilary M. (15 February 2016). "Search ArtsBeat SEARCH Honolulu Biennial in 2017 to Spotlight Local and International Contemporary Artists". New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2017". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  22. ^ "French PM to honour Jackson and Pardington". New Zealand Herald. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Artists' Residency McCahon Trust, West Auckland". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Q&A with artist Fiona Pardington - Viva Magazine - NZ Herald News". 6 November 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  25. ^ "New Zealand Arts Awards | The Big Idea | Te Aria Nui". The Big Idea. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  26. ^ "A New Museological Series From Fiona Pardington – EyeContact". 5 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  27. ^ "Fiona Pardington The Pressure of Sunlight Falling Otago University Press, New Zealand". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  28. ^ "The Pressure of Sunlight Falling". Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Among the Machines". Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Tender is the night". City Gallery Wellington. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  31. ^ "17th Biennale of Sydney". Biennale of Sydney. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Unnerved: The New Zealand Project". NGV Melbourne. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Photographer Unknown". MUMA. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  34. ^ "Brought to Light". Christchurch Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Photoquai". Musee de quai Branly.
  36. ^ "Mō Tātou - The Ngāi Tahu Whānui Exhibition". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  37. ^ "Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu: Twelve contemporary Ngāi Tahu artists". Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  38. ^ "Cultural Safety". City Gallery Wellington. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  39. ^ "Alter/Image". City Gallery Wellington. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  40. ^ "Fiona Pardington". QAGOMA. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  41. ^ "Fiona Pardington". NGV Melbourne. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Fiona Pardington". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  43. ^ "Fiona Pardington". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  44. ^ "Fiona Pardington". Christchurch Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  45. ^ "Fiona Pardington". Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  46. ^ "Fiona Pardington". Chartwell Collection. Retrieved 12 July 2015.

External links[edit]