Open to view Saturday 22nd June until Saturday 21st September.


Roma Andersons’ Anamnesis is a triptych of digital images derived from Polaroid photographs taken in the Waiatarua Wetlands during Tāmaki Makaurau’s first lockdown in 2020. Formerly a tributary valley of the Tāmaki River, the Waiatarua Wetlands were sealed off with the eruption of Maungarei (Mount Wellington) approximately 9,000 years ago. Eventual  rainfall caused ponding amongst the deposits of silt and ash, subsequently forming Lake Waiatarua and its wetlands.

The Waiatarua Drainage Board was founded in 1908, and Lake Waiatarua began to be drained, with the “reclaimed” land used by colonial settlers to plant maise and orchards. Around 670,000 hectares of freshwater wetlands were drained by English settlers for aesthetic or agricultural reasons. Today, only around 100,000 hectares remain, an 85% decline in Aotearoa’s freshwater wetlands since European settlement began. This has, in turn, drastically impacted the habitat of 20% of our indigenous birdlife and the habitat of many of our most ancient life forms. In 1987, restorative planting began for stormwater management and to provide a habitat for native birdlife. The area is now Aotearoa’s largest urban wetland restoration project.

The liquidity and entropy of the images  represents the liminality of the site, a place that is both polluted and cleansed – now a habitat for multiple native species such as Kanuka, Kauri, short and long-finned eels, Pukeko, Tūi and Piwakawaka. More personally, the disorientating pace and dissolving images represent the loss of time and space I experienced during lockdown – as hours bled into days and weeks. In line with déjà vu, the Anamnesis triptych  speaks to the sensation of losing the ground beneath you, when the reliable and familiar becomes fluid and unpredictable.


About the artist:

Roma Lauren Anderson is an Auckland-based artist, photographer, moving image, and new media artist. Anderson grew up along the Tāmaki River and has been exploring its history and the ecological vulnerability of its waterways and mangroves since 2016.

Drawing inspiration from the histories of spirit photography and the notion of vibratory modernism, Anderson reconceives the photographic encounter as an exchange of agency and energy between the artist, camera, and environment.  Recently, Anderson has employed digital processes to generate new imagery from the data of scanned Polaroids, testing the boundaries of what constitutes photography.

In 2024, Anderson participated in the group exhibition Eight Thousand Layers of Moment at the Gus Fisher Gallery. She is currently completing her PhD at Te Waka Tūhura, Elam School of Fine Arts.

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