Maime, at Miss NZ Drag Queen Ball

  • Fiona Clark b.1954
Maime, at Miss NZ Drag Queen Ball


Maime, at Miss NZ Drag Queen Ball


Production Date 1975
Collection(s) Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from the Monica Brewster Bequest in 1981.
Accession Number 81/3
Media Colour photograph - original work
Colour photograph on Ilford Galerie Gold Fiber Silk - reproduced work
Measurements 243 x 161mm - original work;
243 x 161mm with 15mm border - reproduced work;
Framed: 475 x 375mm


In the early 1970s, Fiona Clark, then a student at Elam School of Fine Arts, began photographing Auckland’s gay, lesbian and transgender community. Her photographs record a time of intense social change in New Zealand, and a community of individuals who, by their very existence, posed a challenge to conservative social order. Clark faced censorship in 1975 when two of her photographs taken at a Gay Lib dance at Auckland University toured the country as part of the exhibition The Active Eye. Headlines of outrage accompanied the show around the country; “Mayor shocked by dancing pictures” and “Gallery withdraws ‘indecent’ exhibition”. The photographs were removed from view at many venues, and the exhibition never opened in Auckland.

Twenty-seven years later in 2002, the photographs were shown again in the ground-breaking exhibition Go Girl at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Recent portraits and video interviews with some of the original subjects supplemented Clark’s larger body of work from the 1970s. For Clark, the continued survival of the community is a key element to understanding her 1970s photographs. As such, this body of work tracks a 27-year period of ‘coming out’ in New Zealand.