Cobblestone Lightboxes—Te Whānau Mārama

Wellington City Council's Cobblestone Lightboxes exhibit astrophotography from iconic Wellington landmarks

Imagery of the night sky looking up from a beach
Castlepoint captured by Dr Leon Gurevitch, shown as part of Te Whānau Mārama | Family of Light

Te Whānau Mārama| Family of Light brings together a collection of astrophotography created by Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington's Dr Leon Gurevitch.

Aotearoa is home to some of the best dark sky reserves in the world. This exhibition showcases portrait astrophotographs from iconic landmarks and areas around Te-Whanganui-A-Tara and Te Waiponamu.

Te Whānau Mārama, literally translates to Family of Light, and refers to celestial bodies – the sun, moon, stars and constellations, as well as phosphorescent light. Successful astrophotography must find balance between capturing the multifaceted lights of our galaxy and trying to minimise the impacts of pervasive artificial phosphorescent light. Careful consideration is given to the locations of Dark Sky reserves, so that sky gazers can see the light of the galaxy unimpeded by industrial scale illumination and pollution.

As well as showcasing large photographic prints, this exhibition uses site maps, galaxy orientations and photographic technical context to show audiences just how close sites of astrophotographic experience are to Wellington. One of these sites is Wairarapa, which has recently become a designated dark sky reserve. Dr Gurevitch aims to create public awareness of these incredible locations while providing an inspiring visual experience.

These Lightbox arrangements use backlight to bring low-light images to life and are best viewed at night. The Lightbox works are displayed in conjunction with the large-scale landscape images exhibited in Te Aro Window Gallery on Dunlop Terrace in May 2023. This photographic collection overlaps with Astrodata: a data visualisation project in collaboration with Yale University Lens Media Lab.

Te Wāhanga Waihanga-Hoahoa—Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation is proud to partner with the Wellington City Council to activate the Cobblestone Lightboxes with visual creative research and art practices from academic staff and postgraduate students at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

A similar large-scale astrophoto by Dr Gurevitch is also exhibited on glass at Te Herenga Waka's Rutherford House.

View these works in the Cobblestone Park lightboxes on Vivian Street, Te Aro.

April–October 2023


Violette Squire, Faculty Activities Coordinator,

Dr. Leon Gurevitch,