Mauao – Mount Manganui $1,200 framed 950 unframed Status: Available
SACHA LEES is an acclaimed artist hailing from Wellington, New Zealand. Lees is known for her captivating exploration of profound themes that resonate deeply within the human experience and her masterful command of her craft to convey her artistic vision.
With a multi-award-winning portfolio, Lees delves into the complex realms of displacement, the preservation of identity, the loss of innocence, freedom, and the agency of self, shedding light on the inherent tensions that arise when confronted with the ever-evolving contemporary world.
Reviews for Real series – Artists statement
New Zealand, Aotearoa is a place of unparalleled natural beauty. Every year, billions of dollars are spent promoting New Zealand’s spectacular natural features as ‘once in a lifetime, must see.’ Our glistening coastlines, majestic alpine ranges and lush farmlands are lauded internationally, featuring in major cinematic films. New Zealand endures as a ‘bucket-list’ holiday destination.
When researching on my computer to find ‘the perfect’ Aotearoa spot for a holiday, I stumbled across the Five-Star-Review feature on Google that records opinions of popular destinations. The reviews scrutinise tourist destinations in the same manner we might review a product – a smartwatch, a scented candle, a vacuum cleaner. While sometimes hilarious, the lowest star reviews reflect an attitude towards our natural environment of disposability and entitlement. It reduces our whenua to mere commodity, a space provided solely for our entertainment. Reviewers, worryingly, appear not to care about the environmental, the cultural or historical values of each destination – rather what pleasure they might extract from it.
Discovery of the Google-Five-Star-Review feature caused me to ponder the meaning, power, and significance of these appraisals. It also provided a creative spark.
By hand I digitally rendered various idyllic tourist destinations, reimagining them as circa-1920’s Tourism New Zealand advertising posters, adopting similar font, layout, and the prevailing style of the time. I searched for the lowest star Google reviews for each destination and set comments – humorous, disparaging, enraged – against each ‘idyllic spot’ to create an idiosyncratic juxtaposition that elevates these promotional placards to a commentary on culture and various attitudes to the environment in a contemporary context.
I hope the result might encourage people to reconsider their relationship with the environment and pay more respect to the cultural or heritage value of each destination.