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05 September 2020 —
29 November 2020

Ella Sutherland:
Keys to The Book of the City of Ladies

Ella Sutherland, Keys to The Book of the City of Ladies, 2020 (installation view). Inkjet billboard prints. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Ella Sutherland, Keys to The Book of the City of Ladies, 2020 (installation view). Inkjet billboard prints. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Misong Kim.
Ella Sutherland, Keys to The Book of the City of Ladies I, 2020. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

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Keys to The Book of the City of Ladies is made in reference to a fifteenth-century text by poet and author Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies (c.1405). Pizan created this work, an allegorical ‘city,’ by collating significant female figures from history and housing them in an illuminated manuscript. As Pizan builds the book city, each woman takes on a role as a structural building block in the walls and houses of the city, each contributing to Pizan's argument that women are valuable participants in society.

For the Te Tuhi Billboards, Ella Sutherland has created a series of images that consider the relationship between the page, architecture, and access. Visually, the drawings take Pizan's illuminated manuscript as a departure point, while medieval locks and keys are used as a motif connecting ideas of thresholds, refusal, and power to the walls of the city.