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Untouched: The San People of Namibia


Tue 26 Jan 2016, 10:00am–5:30pm
Wed 27 Jan 2016, 10:00am–5:30pm
Thu 28 Jan 2016, 10:00am–5:30pm
Fri 29 Jan 2016, 10:00am–5:30pm
Sat 30 Jan 2016, 10:00am–5:30pm

Where: The Gallery Custom Tattoo, Level 4, 4 Bond Street, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Related Artists:

Like all San people of southern Africa, the San from Namibia are hunter-gatherers who live in an egalitarian society. Women are greatly respected, may hunt for food, and are also consulted for important decisions in the family and group. Children have no chores to do but play, and life for all is often a montage of conversation, music, and dance.

Printed in black and white, the photo series 'Untouched: the San people of Namibia' shows dramatic and candid images of the people in a day in their lives. Moreover, the series is a portrait of gracefulness evoked by beautiful silhouettes, the love of a mother for her child, billowing smoke from burning, and the sinewed lines of a hunter.

Photographer Rodolfo Peña used what he calls his 'minimalist' style to photograph the San people. With the barest use of photo-enhancing software, he said that the San didn't need much retouching anyway. "They're beautiful as they are.”

About the Photographer
Rodolfo Peña is a migrant from the Philippines and has lived in Wellington for the last nine years. His experience as a social worker and photographer of the indigenous people of the Philippines led to his love for seeking the simplicity of the human face and form through a camera lens. Indigenous people, he says, have a purity and lack of artifice about them that is uncommon in today's world of the selfie.

His style of photography is as uncomplicated as his subjects. Except for very minimal adjustments, Rodolfo doesn't enhance his photographs in any way. Preferring to make use of available light (no flash) and the basic rules of composition sans any photo-enhancing software, his resulting portraits capture his subjects in unguarded moments, their personalities’ pixelated for eternity.

Rodolfo's love of photography was influenced by photo essays in books and magazines he read as a child. He daydreamed of far-off lands and exotic cultures, hoping to document them through a camera someday. "I want to capture people and places as my eyes see them, without 'rose-tinted glasses'. Doing this means I have to think fast sometimes - evaluate light, or stoop, crouch, or bend in the most uncomfortable way to get the right composition. I like doing all the work before I click the shutter, not after."

The Gallery Custom Tattoo Ltd.
The Gallery Custom Tattoo and Original Art was opened by New Zealand’s foremost watercolour tattoo artist, Mario Gregor, and his partner, Ceara Lile, in July 2015. Mario’s art-based tattoo style attracts a different clientele to traditional tattoo parlours. For this reason, Ceara and Mario purposely set out to create a very different tattoo studio model based around customer service, art and tattoo excellence. They strive to provide an experience akin to that of a day spa.

Based in Wellington’s CBD on the corner of Bond and Willis Streets on the top floor of an historic factory building, The Gallery is a grand, open plan space featuring original artworks on display alongside the tattoo artists’ work stations. Available by appointment only, The Gallery’s tattoo artists are passionate about their work and aim to produce the best tattoos possible to their clients’ individual specifications.

The art gallery is open to the public and features regular exhibitions of original artworks for sale.

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