Grey mouth - PhMuseum

Grey mouth

Peter Bannan

2010 - Ongoing

Greymouth is a town on the Westcoast of New Zealand, where I grew up until I was 17 and left for university. It was a thriving coastal tow, a port with coal, gold, forestry, fishing. All of these industries are no longer viable and the town is becoming progressively uninhabited.

The town of Waiuta where my parents were born, that once had 60 hotels is now a 'ghost town' .. not one single building and only tracks through the grass where once there were roads. This has happened in my parents lifetime.

Returning to Greymouth for the first time in 15 years, the town is now quiet, sparse, crisply empty, almost no sign of the life I remember, familiar, yet different. The childhood I had there seems to have evaporated like memories.

As I wandered, drove to familiar spots, looked for signs of familiarity my memories, and the present intertwined.

I would like to return to Greymouth, stay a while, look for my memories, people, places, things that were once part of me.

My intent would be to let my emotions lead me, find stories in the familiar, search for the relationships between place and memory. I would like to spend time finding who has chosen to stay, and who decides to come, to work towards a series of both portraits and location images.

I would also like to explore the possibility of collaborating with a NZ writer that also grew up in Greymouth, and like my memories that now start to feel fictional with time, get him to contribute a fictional text based on his memories.

A book would be the ideal narrative structure, and personal way to interact with these images, a story of my feelings, my memories of home before they dissolve completely.

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