Kerrie Hughes


18 June – 14 July 2024

Ginger, Ginga, Ranga  are names for the minority group I belong to.

Peoples perceptions of this group, often repugnance,  come out in unguarded moments. The penny dropped when I exclaimed with excitement over my friends red-haired grandchild, and lastly added,  I used to have hair like that!  My earliest memories were of people doing the same to me when a child, the realisation being the last words were always, “I,  [or my father, sister…] had hair that colour. These people would come from Scottish and Irish backgrounds, we belong to, even represent this group, and the associated traits of feistiness, unruliness, wildness, and insubordination. An explosive red force. We may stand for trouble.

Due to its rarity, red hair seems significant, what does it mean? It’s subversive, travelling hidden in  gene pools , breaking out unexpectedly from somewhere unseen down under. Where do you come from? Are you a changeling?   Are you from the otherworld ?  A throwback, to prehistory?  To prehuman even?  I admit to a feeling of  shocked recognition when I see Orangutans. Us mutants, we stick together, sniff each other out, have they got the freckles, are they real or imposters? Are you really one of us, an endangered species? We too have our rules of membership. We like our traits, we understand, even love oddity, nonconformity  is our thing.

These days we defiantly dye our hair, since it turned from fire to ash. We don’t want to  give up the POWER of RED which has always defined us.

The  show is personal but also universal, standing for any group seen as Other. In the news every day we see  border problems, and Othering.

It is about the dividing line between civilisation and the non civilised –  nature. Utangard,  Hadrians Wall and  The Pale, are examples, the latter two being walls erected to keep out the Scots and Irish. The people on the other side of the border are seen as uncivilised, as dangerous.

We have a plot of  land in the Wairarapa , half of which is bush, I go between the two sides and this became an analogy for the series.


We had to build a fence.

We  tried everything to keep the marauders out. Even so, some, still make it over.

They have their ways.

Over under or around, THEY are subversive.  On our side the plants are juicer, freshly planted, there is water, it feels good to be in the sun, they are driven to get to our side.

I enter the other side with trepidation, there is a rite of passage at the gate, I call out from the threshold to warn Im coming over, give them time to flee. Don’t want a confrontation, they are dangerous when cornered. It’s you or me then.

On one side it’s open and sunny, through the gate its dappled shadow, limitless, ancient. There is no time only the length of the shadows, there is no mind, only existence .

Its been that way for ever.

A hunter arrives.

I am ambivalent. I want them gone,  not dead. Keep to your side of the border, go away. Some where else! This land belongs to us! They think, us too.

Out there, there are no rules, only existence.

I feel protective of them, they are my Others,  I am on their side.

Kerrie Hughes, June 2024