The map is not the territory

On Monday I visited a photographic exhibition “All Woman – a modern Portrait of New Zealand Women” by photographer Bev Short.

Tanja and Te Kaahurangi Maioha

The portraits are of New Zealand women ranging in age from teen to 90 years old and who have achieved in disparate activities and often against the odds.

I loved this exhibition. Alongside each portrait was a “story” or short biography about the woman pictured. I adore people’s stories. So I read eagerly.

Within many of the stories were little connections that matched my experiences as a female born in the 1950’s being buffeted by gender discrimination; growing in awareness in the 60’s and 70’s; volunteering in both Parents Centre and Playcentre where empowerment underpinned the work; working in community education; facilitating women’s self awareness and personal growth and development; observing others compassion and strong sense of social justice.

So as I read my feelings swung from sad recognition, to feelings of affirmation and strength, to acknowledgement and wisdom, to bewilderment over how much work is still required to gain equity and to wonder over so many startling achievements by women despite the odds and the tug of biology.

And, of course, there were photos to soak up. Some were vivid and colourful, others darker featuring light in a different way. Some were active shots, others with a stillness. All reflecting, in some way, the woman portrayed.

Several struck me deeply: the powerfully warm, deep connection between a woman and her horse; the serene, confident stillness of a teenage mother who has blossomed in her academic studies; the soft beauty and colour of a nurse who had worked in war ravaged countries; the deeply powerful image of a woman who had escaped a violent relationship, but who had behind her all the women who had died in a domestic violence situation since she had escaped.

I could go on……The exhibition has been extended until 22nd July 2012 and it is free. If you read along in Wellington, make time to go.

If you live elsewhere the links to the Gallery and to Bev Short’s website will offer you more information and a glimpse of the richness.

And since viewing the exhibition I have thought a lot about judgement and how “the map is not the territory”……Alfred Korzybski


6 thoughts on “The map is not the territory

  1. Bev Short

    Hi there. I’m Bev Short! I just found this posting of yours whilst googling myself. No, I’m not a narcissist! I have a new career and I was wondering if my new website came up if I put in my name. It didn’t but I found your blog instead. I nearly cried. You write so beautifully and you wrote such lovely words about my work. I feel touched deeply. Thank you so much. I honestly have no words right now but I’m feeling so much. Thank you. xxx

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      Hi Bev! How nice to hear from you. Google can take us to some interesting places at times and I’m glad it found my post about your stunning photographic exhibition. I’ve just had a look at your new website and venture – wow! Good for you.
      Thank you for your very kind words. My blogging voice has dried up so much in the past two years and I have relied so much more on my growing interest in photography for posts on my blog. Coincidentally I had been thinking a lot in the past few days about restoring my “voice” and using words a whole lot more again on the blog. Your comments here will spur me on, so thank you:-)


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