Michael Parekowhai

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Michael Te Rakato Parekowhai (born 1968) is a New Zealand sculptor and a professor at University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts.[1] He is of Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi, Ngāti Whakarongo[2] and Pākehā descent.

Parekowhai was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award in 2001. In 2011 he represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale.[3]

Early life[edit]

Parekowhai was born in Porirua. Both his parents were schoolteachers. He spent his childhood and attended school in Auckland's North Shore suburbs. After leaving high school, Parekowhai worked as a florist's assistant before commencing his BFA at University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts (1987–1990). He trained as a high-school art teacher, before returning to Elam to complete his MFA (1998–2000).

Themes and style[edit]

Parekowhai makes a broad range of work, across a range of media that intersects sculpture and photography.

...interweaves the canon of “high art” with cultural tradition, the handmade object with mass-produced tourist tat, the imported with the proudly colloquial. With the diligence of a cultural props person, he appropriates the already appropriated in a manner that is often humorous, at times uncomfortable...[4]

Despite the range of Parekowhai's output, his practice is linked throughout, both stylistically – a characteristic 'gloss' of high production value – and thematically.

Curator Justin Paton writes of Parekowhai:

They [Michael Parekowhai artworks] have a way of sneaking up on you, even when they're straight ahead. Pick-up sticks swollen to the size of spears. A photograph of a stuffed rabbit who has you in his sights. A silky bouquet that rustles with politics. Seemingly serene beneath their gleaming, factory-finished surfaces, Michael Parekowhai's sculptures and photographs are in fact supremely artful objects. 'Artful' not just because they're beautifully made...but also because they manage, with a combination of slyness, charm and audacity, to spring ambushes that leave you richer.[5]

Notable works[edit]

On First Looking into Chapmans Homer
  • On First Looking into Chapman's Homer – an installation of two bronze bulls on grand pianos, two bronze olive saplings and the figure of a stoic security guard, his entry in 54th La Biennale di Venezia in 2011.
The World Turns
  • The World Turns – a life-sized bronze elephant tipped on its head and eye-to-eye with a kuril (water-rat), commissioned by the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.[6][7]
  • He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river – an original Steinway grand piano covered in glossy red carvings.[8] The piano is played at each of the exhibitions that it features in, for example in the 2012 Te Papa exhibition with works from Colin McCahon and Jim Allen.
  • The Lighthouse – Queens Wharf, Auckland[9]

Exhibitions[edit]

Solo[edit]

Group[edit]

Awards / honours[edit]

  • Artist Laureate, Arts Foundation of New Zealand, 2001.
  • Premier of Queensland Sculpture Commission, Queensland, Australia, 2011.
  • Nga Toa Whahaihuwaka, Māori of the Year for Arts, 2011.
  • Barfoot & Thompson, 90th Anniversary Gift to Auckland City, Waterfront Commission, 2013.
  • ‘Top 50 Public Art Project’ awarded by Americans for the Arts, Public Art Network, 2013 Year in Review, for Blue Stratus, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona, USA, 2013.

Collections[edit]

Parekowhai's work is held in most New Zealand public gallery collections and a number of international museums.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.creative.auckland.ac.nz/people/elam/m-parekowhai
  2. ^ Fox, C.L. (17 September 2013). "32 Tairawhiti MB 249, A20120015627" (PDF). Māori Land Court. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Michael Parekowhai at the Venice Biennale". Te Ara - online encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Michael Parekowhai interview", Sally Blundell, May 14, 2011, The Listener
  5. ^ "Special Agent Michael Parekowhai's Generous Duplicity". Art New Zealand. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Million-dollar mammoth makes minister mad", October 17, 2012, Daniel Hurst, brisbanetimes.com.au
  7. ^ "ARTIST NAMED FOR $1M SCULPTURE COMMISSION AT GOMA 5TH BIRTHDAY PARTY", November 26, 2011, qld.gov.au
  8. ^ "He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, 2011". Ocula. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Lighthouse lights up this Saturday". Auckland Council. Auckland Council. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Shontelle Campbell (November 2016). "Sculpture a talking point". Hamilton News. The New Zealand Herald. 
  11. ^ Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land (1st ed.). Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery. 2015. ISBN 978-1-921503-74-0. 
  12. ^ "Michael Parekowhai: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer". Christchurch Art Gallery. 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Michael Parekowhai". One Day Sculpture. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Black Rainbow". Te Uru. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Maud Page et al., Michael Parekowhai : the promised land, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 2015. ISBN 9781921503740
  • Mary Barr (ed), On first looking into Chapman's Homer : New Zealand at the 54th Biennale di Venezia 2011, Auckland: Michael Lett and Roslyn Oxley Gallery, 2011. ISBN 9780958264785
  • Michael Lett and Ryan Moore (eds), Michael Parekowhai, Auckland: Michael Lett, 2007. ISBN 9780958283106
  • Margery King and Ngahiraka Mason, Michael Parekowhai: Ten Guitars, Pittsburgh: Andy Warhol Museum, 2001.
  • Robert Leonard, Michael Parekowhai: Ten Guitars, Auckland: Artspace, 1999. ISBN 9780958210331
  • Robert Leonard and Lara Strongman, Michael Parekowhai: Kiss the baby goodbye, New Plymouth: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 1994. ISBN 0908848102

External links[edit]