Exhibition Survives Earthquake


'Caring for the Dead', a photographic essay by Bridgit Anderson, is making its overdue appearance in Dunedin in November, after the exhibition had to be cancelled in March due to February's Christchurch Earthquake.

The art works were stored in the Centre of Contemporary Art – COCA – gallery, which became part of the red zone area after the earthquake.

“Fortunately the work is housed in international standard touring crates so no damage was incurred”, Bridgit said.

Michael Hope, of Hope and Sons Funeral Directors in Dunedin, said: “ Little did we know when the earthquake occurred that not only would we have to postpone if not cancel the exhibition, but myself and a team of volunteers from Dunedin would be in Christchurch assisting our colleagues over the following weeks. It was an honour and a privilege to be able to do this but we also thought it very important to ensure this exhibition still came to Dunedin."

Over the course of a year (2005-06) Bridgit Anderson worked closely with a Christchurch firm of funeral directors and with families who had recently lost loved ones.

The exhibition seeks to open up a world that is often left to the imagination. Anderson’s series of black and white photographs focus on the journey of the body from the time of death to burial or cremation.

The exhibition has been shown in Christchurch, Ashburton, Auckland, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Queensland, Sydney, Finland and now, it is coming to Dunedin.

Hope and Sons Funeral Directors and Dignity Funeral Services are proud to be bringing this exhibition exclusively to Dunedin as the images allow the viewer a rare insight into the personal and professional domains of the funeral profession.

Photographs taken in the clinical environs of the mortuary, at the graveside, in the chapel and at the family home provide a thoughtful and broad understanding of the funeral profession, and one which ultimately seeks to demystify.


Bridgit Anderson

Born and educated in Christchurch, Bridgit Anderson moved to the UK in 1985 where she held tertiary teaching positions at Croydon College, London and London College of the Arts, Camberwell and Chelsea. She returned to New Zealand in 2004 to take up a temporary lecturing post in the photography department at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, of which she is a graduate.

As a documentary and portrait photographer her career has spanned a variety of areas and interests, both analogue and digital. Anderson is currently the manager for A Place in Time Documentary Project at the university.