Matthew Couper and Jo Russ:

The use of the skull in art has scattered origins, with David Cauchi’s ‘skeleton guy’ self portraits showing his interest in Aztec symbolism and Day of the Dead processions to Tony de Lautour’s use of more contemporary, home-made tattoo imagery. We have lived with Tony de Lautour’s large work Seven Dollar Skull in our bedroom. We see its skulls, chains and ghost-like forms as invoking the comic symbolism of lowbrow death cults. Sleeping alongside this work no doubt doesn’t conform to the ideals of feng shui, but we are comfortable with it.

Andrew Ross’ photograph of a Wellington interior threatened by the motorway by-pass acts as a remembrance piece to student flats and the associated culture that is now a scarcity in the central city.

This section also presents a religious take on mortality and the associated symbolism, as seen in the images by Richard Wotton, Laurence Aberhart and Peter Ireland.

We find humour in Hayden Fritchley’s photograph of Matt Hunt wearing a drawn-on tattoo of George W. Bush in a coffin, which points jokingly at American fraternity initiations and notions of ‘re-birth’. Lauren Lysaght’s darkly humorous sculpture suggests deadly potential in modern technology and contemporary plagues, such as bird flu.

However, lest we forget, one of the most chilling works is Myra Hauschild’s photograph of a map at Auschwitz showing the plethora of concentration camps throughout Germany during World War II.