Exhibition Essays

Lead us outside, lead us out quietly

April 2014

and when we wake up

Faith Wilson
lead us outside, lead us out quietly

we gather our belongings
and wrap them up in silk scarves,
old bandanas, we tie them up
on ends of old sticks
chucked over our right shoulders. 

we set up camp in the waste,
burn old beer boxes for fire
and snake-charm the smoke
until we’re coughing, we’re
all gasping for air, we drain
the space of it, and refill
it with silly chit-chat,
toasted marshmallows, a
bit of weed and a dream
spoken too soon. 

we lie on laps and let the night
lick us to sleep, dry grass
reeding lullabies,
we are asleep
we are asleep
we are asleep 

and when we wake up,
it will be morning. 


We sat on the hood of the car
fresh blueberries in my lap
his thigh brushing against mine
every so often.

Talia Smith 

my skin is a-remembering.

i think through textures and feels
and fields make pop-ups like kid-books
in my brain, here’s a concrete,
or here’s a grass,
i kiss the photos, i lick the stars
and they speak to me the same way,
and that’s how we speak isn’t it
i know your tastebuds and the sting of tar.
we sat on the hood of the car 

counting toes and toenails, we’ve both got ten
and our fingers make shapes and shadows
between the headlight and the factory wall
you do some burnouts, a rarky and
we’re so gangsta when we ride, but us and
the dust are slow-jammers to acid rap
we’re actually so cute inside,
baby rest your head, let your
night-cold fingers nap like
fresh blueberries in my lap.

and our like or love is like a wasteland
there aren’t any roses, lots of carbon
but no diamonds, we filled it up with
clouds from exhaust pipes to sleep and
dream on, we got married under tired
sky, scattered rice to birds and found
our vows in tyre prints and graffiti
tagged by our brothers, and I fell
asleep, tipsy on cask wine
his thigh brushing against mine.

we must’ve run out of gas or steam
somewhere in between dusks and
mornings, some moons stole our
dreams and hid them in potholes
dashed with rain-water and pebbles
let’s pretend we’re kids, jump in
them, but, you say, our bones will
get wet, so we let the puddles freeze
and only ice-dance on them
every so often.


I went to the gallery
today, I lay on the floor

and let all the photos
have a look at me.

I got naked for them,
I did a little dance.

I couldn’t tell if they
were impressed,

they just stared at me
a bit, I think and when

I felt like too much of
an exhibitionist:

all naked and sweaty
on the gallery floor, 

I put my clothes back
on and left.


(Individual response to photograph around the gallery) 



When I was sixteen, Pink Floyd was my favourite band and I was going to get a Pink Floyd quote tattooed on my bum. We’re all so lost when we’re sixteen and yet we think we’re so found, so profound, well I did anyway, and we spew out our emotions into diaries and we think wow… this song just gets me… and we’re like trains, travelling to places far, but never too far, but too fast to keep up with by foot, and sometimes we find ourselves in love, or drunk at a party, or in Auckland, and sometimes we find ourselves all burnt out by the roadside, a pile of kindling, a mound of coal, ready to be fired up again, but by whom?



Who are you 16A? Where is 16? Or 16B? Are you friends? Do they even exist? Are you happy where you are? Do people come and touch you, run their fingers along your ridges? Do kids kick balls on the grass in front of you, do they kick balls at the wall and if they do does it hurt you? Are you lonely 16A? Do you sometimes cry?



If I woke up, and saw you every morning, I would cry. And it’s not because you’re ugly, and it’s not because you’re not a tree, and it’s not because I feel really sorry for you or anything, but I would cry because I think about what you were, and if you had any dreams, and I wonder if anyone thinks about you as deeply as I think about you and I don’t think anyone does, and I think about what might have been, and what could be, but what will probably never be… and it makes me sad, but at least the sky is smiling.



You are like a giant earth nipple, and I feel a bit voyeuristic staring at you too much, but you are such a beautiful nipple. You are earthy and brown, just like mine. I can show you, if you want. 


V (Roly Polys) 

Do you remember doing roly polys when we were little? Dad would take us to a park in Tokoroa and we’d wrap ourselves into these long cocoons, chubby arms curled up to cover little chests from rogue bumps and for twenty seconds, or probably only ten, we were fat little cigars, rolling down dirt and grass, dandelions whipping our tender necks, our heads wee spinning tops and Dad would be there to catch us at the end, stomachs sick and fuzzy and yet we’d do it all over again.