Interview with Aperture Foundation by Martin Toft

Recently I spoke with Will Matsuda at Aperture Foundation. You can read the interview here on their blog published to coincide with the latest issue of Aperture Magazine, “Earth”. Thanks to Managing Editor Brendan Embser for commissioning the piece.

'Who can tell the story of an indigenous community? In 1996, photographer Martin Toft traveled to New Zealand and spent six months living with the Māori, participating in an illegal occupation of Mangapapapa, an ancestral land inside Whanganui National Park. It was during this time spent documenting their lives that Toft formed a deep connection with the land and community—even being given a Māori name, Pouma Pokai-Whenua. Twenty years later, Toft returned to New Zealand to rekindle the the spiritual kinship he had experienced and continue his project. But, as photographers and critics reckon with the medium’s colonial, often racist history when it comes to representing non-Western people, how do photographers reckon with issues of representation and power?'
In a conversation between Will Matsuda and Martin Toft they discuss making his new book, Te Ahi Kā, against the backdrop of decolonization, climate change, and Māori spiritualism.

Copies can still be purchased through Dewi Lewis. For New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific visit Oratia Books. In the Americas go to Grenade in a Jar Books. All Special or Collectors Editions contact me directly.

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Te Ahi Kā featured in Archive Collective Magazine by Martin Toft

Thanks to Curator, Maela Ohana for an extensive feature of Te Ahi Kā in Archive Collective. The book consists of 89 colour and b&w photographs including rare images held in 19th and 20th century collections in New Zealand, such as portraits made by Alfred Burton’s Maori at Home (1885) and James Ingram McDonald, Dominion Whanganui River Expedition (1921.)

Research in New Zealand archives was an important element of the development of the book’s narrative and structure as well as allowing images of ancestors from national collections to be seen by the descendants of those featured in 19th and 20th century portraits. An important aspiration of the book is the reconnection of people to their tribal taonga (treasures), and in its broadest sense assist in wider reclamation of Māori knowledge, language, and customs.

Consultation to use the images was sought from living members of whanau (family) and permission granted according to Taonga Māori policies held in New Zealand museums that acknowledges the kaitiaki (guardianship) and copyright of any Māori cultural treasures - including photographs belonging to iwi (tribes).

Seven hidden chapters of text appear inside fold-outs that include conversations with tribal elders in relation to Māori cosmology and provide context about the return to their ancestral homeland, Mangapapapa deep inside the Whanganui River.

Copies can be purchased through the Dewi Lewis website. For New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific visit Oratia Books. In the Americas go to Grenade in a Jar Books. All Special or Collectors Editions contact me here or through my website.

The Seaflower Venture in PH Museum today by Martin Toft

My ongoing project, The Seaflower Venture is featured today on PHmuseum. The project emerged from research into the origins of Jersey’s banking history undertaken as part of Masterplan - a parallel project focusing on the story of the island’s finance industry. With Jersey operating as an entreprôt; the island’s merchant trade of global commodities conducted across multiple outposts can be seen as a blueprint for a future offshore financial services industry facilitating international flow of capitol from other jurisdictions. 

Within the context of Brexit and uncertainty of future trade relations I'm working on ambitious plans combining both projects into a multi-media installation in multiple locations in 2022. Entrepôt will explore through the prism of colonial and family history Jersey’s original wealth generated by the proceeds from the North Atlantic fisheries in the 18th and 19th centuries and how its merchant networks in the West Indies, South America and Mediterranean lay the foundation for the island's economic growth and development in the 20th and 21st centuries as an International Finance Centre. #theseaflowerventure #masterplan #entrepot


Te Ahi Kā published in ZEIT Magazin by Martin Toft

Since the end of last year I have been working with ZEITmagazin on an extensive feature about my new book Te Ahi Kā. Published today as a 10 page spread here are a few pages. Many thanks to Milena Carstens, Director of Photography and Tereza Mundilová for an excellent interview asking some critical questions about the nature of my collaboration with Māori, their spiritual world and relationship with photography. 

To learn more you can read ZEITmagazin online here 
Or purchase a copy of the book available here from Dewi Lewis Publishing
For New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific visit Oratia Books.

Unveiling of the Future of St Helier Hoarding #3 by Martin Toft

If you missed the news last night at ITV Channel TV you can catch up here with Hautlieu students talking (15m.12s) about their images on display at the Masterplan Future of St Helier hoarding on the International Finance Centre supported by sponsors Jersey Development Company, Camerons Ltd and MJP Architects.

The outdoor installation on the hoarding around the construction site is a great way to engage the public in art and debates concerning the future of the island's capital but, what we need in Jersey is a new contemporary art space that will provide a new venue to showcase art produced in the island, but equally also bring international art to Jersey for the public enjoyment of its residents and visitors alike.

The recent Culture, Arts and Heritage Strategic Review, commissioned by the Government of Jersey makes 20 new recommendations that will revitalise the island's cultural infrastructure and achieve a wide range of social and economic objectives from tourism, to health and well being to external relations, to planning and environmental developments - in the hope that in partnership with Government it will enrich and enhance Jersey’s quality of life.

Let's hope those in power who can make real changes to St Helier's build environment will include such a new art space in the revised Masterplan of the Waterfront. All we need is political will and re-prioritising public funding for the arts. States of Jersey

Unveiling of the Future of St Helier Hoarding #2 by Martin Toft

Earlier today we unveiled the Masterplan Future of St Helier hoarding display at the International Finance Centre. Lots of local media interest from Jersey Evening PostITV Channel TV and BBC Jersey who broadcasted live on radio talking to photography students at Hautlieu School, Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft and sponsors Jersey Development Company, Camerons Ltd, MJP Architects about the future of the island and its capital. An excellent example of how a community arts and education project can generate a debate that affects all those who either live, work or visit St Helier. If you are interested in the views of young people tune into BBC Radio here (listen from 3:18:30 onwards or watch the six o'clock news tonight on ITV.

Unveiling of the Future of St Helier Hoarding by Martin Toft

Please come along to the unveiling tomorrow at 12:00 noon of the Future of St Helier Hoarding at the International Finance Centre on the Esplanade in St Helier. First published as a 52 page newspaper supplement in September by the Jersey Evening Post the work produced by A-Level Photography students at Hautlieu School have been transformed into a 34m outdoor installation as part of Masterplan Community Arts and Education Project 

Students were challenged with responding to specific areas, streets and neighbourhoods divided up along the urban vingtaines of St Helier and to explore through research, archives and photography the built-environment, urban living, diverse communities, town planning, land use and re-generation projects.

We thank all sponsors and collaborators for making this a successful contribution to the island's cultural records and historic archives Jersey Development Company, Camerons Ltd, MJP ArchitectsArchisleLewis BushPhoto-Archive Societe-Jersiaise, Kevin Pilley, States of Jersey and Connétable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft #futureofsthelier18#masterplan