Pride & Prejudice, Part 1: Group Exhibition

22 February - 18 March 2023 Bergman Gallery, Auckland

Heather Straka | Oliver Cain | Raymond Sagapolutete | Lucas Grogan | Luke Thurgate | Sione Monū | Louie Bretaña


'Prejudice, wrote a song about it, like to hear it? Here it goes….free your mind' such is the opening lyric to US pop/soul group En Vogue's third single from their sophomore album Funky Diva's. The 1992 anti-prejudice anthem was a worldwide hit, striking a deep chord with a new generation at the dawn of the age of popular internet. 


Prejudice, it's not an attractive topic, yet despite an enduring fight against it, remains stubbornly systemic across the globe, permeating every facet of our human existence. It comes in all shapes and sizes, tailored to any generic set of circumstances. Want a great recent example? Brexit. It had little to do with economic concerns and everything to do with immigration, or to be more specific, popular national rejection of EU policies that allowed African and Middle Eastern refugees a way into the UK via Europe. Brexit  challenged established notions of human rights in a democratic vote, and won. One of its ringleaders was also elected Prime Minister.


This example of United Kingdom 'populism' is pertinent to the time and place that we live in; as the hangover of European colonisation and its redundant ideology is still being moderated within Pacific societies. 


The history of prejudice however is as old as humanity itself. For some inane reason we as a species, seek to judge, divide and harm based on race, gender, religion, culture, orientation, economic benefit, socio-economic class and/or political expediency.


So what to do? 


We continue to confront it in any way we can, stamp it out - much like a virus, or to borrow a political cliché from the recent past, 'flatten the curve'. But, like a virus, prejudice doesn't just go away, it mutates, finds a new host and continues. So our response evolves too, and we defy and confront it at every opportunity, we make movies, compose music and write about it, hold exhibitions, protests, marches, parades, lectures and conferences, petition politicians for change, repudiate it on social media and educate our kids. We tell its story, and day by day, we make incremental progress to eradicate it. 


We all have our own stories to tell. This exhibition  brings together a collection of stories by Queer and Pacific artists who live, like many of us, with prejudice. They are narrated in painted, sculptural and photographic form.  They are communicated with love, humour and gravity.  They are  not victim impact statements, nor are they a condemnation or judgment of others, these stories function as a stocktake of the reality we live in, and purposefully reflect that we believe the fight for equality in all of its forms, is far from over.