Jake Mein (b.1988) is a visual artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. His work explores a sense of belonging, home and the deterioration of those familiar places. His recent work has looked at his hometown of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake which destroyed the city. Mein’s project ‘Six for Gold’ was recently published by independent Australasian publisher Bad News Books. Mein was chosen for the Parallel European Photo Based Platform’s second cycle.
Ashes focuses on a small town on the West Coast of South Island, New Zealand that has recently gone through an industrial change & a shift in its ecology of the area. Treating this town as a case study for wider symbolism of fractured communities, I’m interested in the effect globalisation has had on industry firstly on a local level, but also as with my previous work, how identity is formed through place.
Having such a prosperous yet reliant relationship to finite materials binds one to the land, to the area, and to the vocation. This commitment, therefore, forges identity over time. Ashes asks the question of how identity can be shaped and what different factors have in creating identity.
The focus being a collective attachment on a localised and now defunct industry, is this lost when the physicality of place is removed? How does this supposed fracture present itself?
Seeing this brutal landscape seem unperturbed by a change that was so obviously impacting those who inhabit the area, why in such remote places does a sense of self seem more amplified? The link of stoicism between land & individual is something that only exists in these areas, the people reflect the area in such a way that it arcs back again to their overall identity.
To view more of Jake Mein’s work please visit his website.