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Bridget Reweti: I thought I would of climbed more mountains by now
New Zealand artist Bridget Reweti’s film reflects on mountain climbing as a metaphor for success, an analogy for conquering, with the punch to sky as a cliche of triumph.
Colonial narratives are at the forefront of notions of domination over the New Zealand landscape along with the
religious rhetoric that accompanied colonisation – the mountain-top is precisely where men meet God. These
ideas sit at odds with customary Maāori paradigms, where humanity is considered to be from, of and belonging to
‘In February 2015’ writes Reweti, ‘my sister, her partner and I left our car at Erewhon Station and headed towards
the Adams Wilderness Area for the Garden of Eden Ice Plateau. A 9km stretch of gentle rolling snow and ice at
an elevation of 2000m, the Garden of Eden is just west of the main divide, in the heart of the Southern Alps. It
is adjacent to the Garden of Allah and features such names as Eve’s Rib, Cain’s Glacier, Angel col, the Devil’s
Backbone and the Great Unknown.’
I thought I would of climbed more mountains, 2015, is informed by contrasts in the European perception of New Zealand’s landscape as empty wilderness and Māaori narratives of the mountains as inhabited. The film builds on the iconic imagery in Hugh MacDonald’s documentary This is New Zealand, 1970, to question colonial, religious, patriarchal and utopian landscape ideologies.