• Miriam Saphira

SafeKeeping

Updated: Aug 31

The Charlotte Museum is excited to be exhibiting SafeKeeping by Veronica Slater. The exhibit includes two bodies of work, a retrospective of Debatable Territories from the Hero Festival, 2002 and the world premiere of Nebulous.

The concept of nebulous, that hazy, confused feeling, where things do not quite make sense is reflective of the ambiguity faced by many women in Aotearoa post Covid-19 where, while already earning less than men, women are being disproportionately affected by issues such as job loss and homelessness. And its fitting for such a show to be exhibited here at the Charlotte Museum as Covid-19 impacts continue to have consequences for us with a recent rental increase and attempts over the last 15 years to get a community space for lesbians not materialising. The museum’s Trust has a Kaupapa for safekeeping our growing, diverse collection of lesbian culture. However, while maintaining the Te Papa National Museum Standards, fragmented funding and lack of a long-term permanent home for our valuable collection embodies this sense of nebulous……

Thus, it seems appropriate to be the first gallery showing Nebulous, a series of artwork done in 2002 when Veronica lived in Auckland, when nothing made sense to her after witnessing 9/11 in NYC.


Such a tragic turning point in history and looking back, I think the work was about being in a state of flux, not knowing where to go, in a kind of limbo.


I sought refuge in the materiality and alchemy of paint. Its fluidity and unpredictable nature when poured, seemed to resonate with a world in chaos. The series encapsulates a moment of transition, and visible amidst the paint, are images that glimpse a ‘fragmented reality’, a state of nebulous. The artwork documents a fleeting account of doubt and fragility during an unsettled time. When l departed NZ, the series was wrapped up in the New York Times and left with Fran Marno, for safe keeping.


My studio in Brown Street off the Ponsonby Road was a place of sanctuary for me to heal and work. At the time I was in a relationship with a kiwi lesbian and we were planning a future together in Aotearoa, but like the unpredictability of paint, life went in a different direction.” (Veronica Slater, 2021)


Curator Therry Weerts has chosen wooden frames for Nebulous as the grain of the wood echoes the lines of the works, and in Aotearoa wood embodies our concept of home, a consequence of its use in the construction of our houses. The metal plates are then embraced by, or ‘homed’ within wood so its warmth can offset that impression of cool from the zinc plates the works were executed on.

SafeKeeping, the small framed works of Debatable Territories and the mixed media of Nebulous, is a show not to be missed and is on view in May, until early July 2021.


The SafeKeeping exhibition is a fund raiser for the Charlotte Museum and Veronica Slater, currently living in Brighton, is donating all proceeds in support of the Charlotte Museum.

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