The Fulbright Reflections series of panel discussions provides a unique opportunity for the public to personally meet New Zealand alumni of the Fulbright exchange programme, who will share their ideas and inspirations on a particular theme. They will engage with the audience in discussion and you will get to know these remarkable New Zealanders as people. These personal reflections will have wide appeal to people of all ages and interests.
Fulbright Reflections: America Through a New Zealand Lens, at City Gallery Wellington on 20 July, will feature three esteemed Fulbright exchange alumni – photographers Laurence Aberhart and Peter Peryer, and documentary filmmaker Briar March – sharing their views of America from the unique perspective of visiting New Zealand artists, and their personal stories of passion, inspiration and thought leadership in their respective creative fields.
Laurence Aberhart received a 1988 Fulbright New Zealand Cultural Development Grant to take photographs and visit cultural institutions on a road trip from Chicago through the Southern states of the US to the border town of Laredo, Texas. He received a second award, a Fulbright New Zealand Senior Scholar Award, to travel and photograph the Eastern Seaboard states in 2010.
Laure¬nce has been at the forefront of New Zealand photography since the late 1970s, and is recognised as a major international figure. His signature images are black and white photographs of landscapes, facades, monuments and interiors, taken with an antique, large-format slide camera. Since his first trip abroad as a Fulbright scholar in 1988, Laurence has travelled and photographed widely, including visits to France, Japan, Macau and Antarctica.
A major touring exhibition of more than 200 of Laurence’s key works (including from his first Fulbright exchange to the US) was developed by the City Gallery Wellington and Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2007, and an accompanying book, Aberhart, was published by Victoria University Press.
Briar March received a 2009 Fulbright New Zealand Graduate Award to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in documentary filmmaking at Stanford University.
While in the US, Briar made four short documentary films – Michael and His Dragon, about a young Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; Sik Wid It, about an energetic American street dance called Turf; Promenade, about America’s iconic coming-of-age ritual, the high school prom; and Smoke Songs, about a Native American punk rock band.
Briar’s films, including feature length documentaries Allie Eagle and Me and There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho, have been exhibited in film festivals, released in commercial cinemas and broadcast on major television networks around the world. She has received more than 30 international awards for her filmmaking, including the prestigious SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award, and a Qantas Film and Television Award for “Best Editing” in 2010.
Briar currently works for Attitude Pictures making documentaries about people living with disabilities, and is developing a documentary about state housing for broadcast on Māori Television. She shares the production company On the Level Productions with Lyn Collie.
Peter Peryer received a 1985 Fulbright New Zealand Cultural Development Grant to visit meet American photography artists and academics, visit cultural institutions and take photographs.
Another of New Zealand’s leading contemporary photographers, Peter has been exhibiting photographs in New Zealand and overseas since the mid-1970s, after first picking up a camera in his early thirties.
Originally working solely with black and white film and often a plastic Diana camera, in more recent years he has favoured digital colour imagery. His works are widely collected and are held in major art museums in New Zealand and internationally.
Peter was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to photography in 1997, and was one of five recipients of $50,000 Arts Foundation Laureate Awards in the inaugural round of the awards in 2000.
Join these Fulbright alumni at City Gallery Wellington on Saturday 20 July, from 2:00-3:30pm, as they discuss America Through a New Zealand Lens.
This event coincides with the gallery’s major exhibition of works by American photographer Gregory Crewdson, which explore “the dark heart of contemporary Americana”. Working like a film director, Crewdson creates elaborate scenarios using sets, actors, and full production crews, blurring the photographic and the cinematic to illuminate the darker side of the American dream.
The Fulbright exchange programme is one of the largest and most significant scholarly initiatives in the world, with more than 300,000 alumni. Included are heads of state, ambassadors, artists, politicians, presidents, teachers, professors and thinkers. The programme was begun in 1946 by American Senator J. William Fulbright “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby to increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship”. To find out more about the Fulbright programme and opportunities for educational and cultural exchange between New Zealand and the United States of America, visit the Fulbright New Zealand website at www.fulbright.org.nz