Breadcrumb navigation

Stephen Ellis: Headforemost

19 May 2018 - 05 Aug 2018

Stephen Ellis: Unsettlement, 2018. Ballpoint pen and correction fluid on paper.

Saturday 19 May 2018, 10.00am - Sunday 5 August 2018, 4.30pm

  • Opening event: Saturday 19 May, 4pm-6pm
  • Gallery hours: 10am-4.30pm daily

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, 420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland

Show map


09 817 8087


On 26 November 1841 the small boat containing William Cornwallis Symonds and four other passengers sank “headforemost” in the Manukau Harbour.

Symonds was the impetuous deputy to Governor William Hobson. The Manukau Land Company was a private scheme instigated by Symonds, to entice Scottish emigrants to his proposed capital city on land that he had not yet negotiated the purchase of at Cornwallis.

For this exhibition Stephen Ellis reimagines the settling of Symonds’ unbuilt city at Cornwallis, the last remnant of which is its rebuilt wharf. Ellis reimagines the settlement through scale models, which serve as the basis for a series of large ballpoint pen drawings.

Ellis’ research, modelling and meticulous drawings contrast historic and current colonisation and migration; the push and pull, the drivers and the disappointments of so much arduous journeying.