September 17 – October 9 2004
The reference was to Polynesian women who were kept as sex slaves in the holds of pearl trading ships, in a DV work where Hutchinson for the first time animated a suite of her own drawing.
Hutchinson draws with a Marlene Dumas-like touch and sensuality. The soundtrack was bird cry and the reverberation of water lapping against the sides of a wooden ship. Captive but available, the afro-haired woman is caught by our gaze behind a cut-out curtain – infact one of Hutchinson’s building paper works, for which she is well-known. Movement is sinuous and ghosted, which alongside an almost soft-focus framing device, adds to the sense of peep-hole voyeurism. Black Pearl is haunting and evocative; poignant and achingly beautiful.
On the wall opposite Black Pearl's monitor, Lonnie showed four related cut-outs. Princess Pearl is the largest and most elegant of these – a work in the family of the magnificent Sista 7, recently purchased by the New Gallery, Christchurch, Te Puna O Waiwhetu. Fanny and Four Girls re-work the figuration of the moving image work, while the small Lucy, is in fact the curtain of the video loop.
Black Pearl refers directly to the incarceration of Island women in the holds
of Pearl Traders. This bleak history of sexual exploitation has important and
on-going ramifications in terms of the sex industry today; while also commenting
upon the stereotypical image of the so-called "available" Polynesian
Lonnie would like to acknowledge the sterling efforts of her design team,
throughout the animation of Black Pearl. They are: Kathryn McCorkindale;