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Metro Tunnel

Ann Shelton: an invitation to dance

Royal Botanic Gardens (near cnr Albert and Domain roads), February 2021 to present

Photographic artworks of floral bouquets, emanating smoke, on bright, warm backgrounds

About the artwork

Radical. Courtesan. Legend. The life of Lola Montez transcends truth and slips into desiring myth. A radical and mercurial figure, Montez exceeded prescribed parameters of femininity and ignored limits and existing conventions controlling women’s bodies. Montez toured Australian gold rush towns during the 1850s as a performer – and was notably the first woman ever photographed smoking.

Drawing upon Montez’s own use of photography to promote her self-image, Shelton has created a new series of works. The Instagram feed @elizagilbertandlolamontez, created by the artist, allows audiences to engage with archival material relating to Montez.

an invitation to dance was commissioned by Photo Australia and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program for PHOTO 2021.

About the artist

Ann Shelton is an artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. Working with photography, performance, doubling, spoken, textual and printed matter, Shelton’s most recent research is manifest through plant-based photographic constructions engaging plant, gender-focused and anthropogenic narratives or histories – in particular the intersection of these histories with human knowledge systems and/or with feminisms.

Shelton's work has been shown widely internationally and throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, including a mid-career review exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in November 2016 and at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in December 2017. In 2019 Shelton presented her first solo exhibition in the USA. She is Honorary Research Fellow in Photography at Whiti o Rehua, School of Art Massey University.

Photography by James Henry