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Michael Parekowhai

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Michael Parekowhai

Michael Parekowhai ONE DAY SCULPTURE

University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts

michael parekowhai the promised land opening night

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


Michael Parekowhai Chapman39s Homer39 by Michael Parekowhai Sculpture and

Parekowhai was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award in 2001. He represented New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Michael Parekowhai Running with the bulls at Te Papa Stuffconz

Melbourne art fair michael parekowhai

Early life

Michael Parekowhai cdneventfindaconzuploadsartiststransformed1

Parekowhai was born in Porirua. Both his parents were schoolteachers. He spent his childhood in Auckland's North Shore suburbs, where he also attended school. 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

Parekowhai makes a variety of work across a range of media that intersects sculpture and photography. Sally Blundell, writing in the New Zealand Listener, says:

Michael Parekowhai Michael Parekowhai On First Looking into Chapmans Homer
Originality, authenticity, ownership. In Parekowhai’s work, such notions blur, slipping into a collective act of translation that interweaves the canon of “high art” with cultural tradition, the handmade object with mass-produced tourist tat, the imported with the proudly colloquial.
Michael Parekowhai Michael Parekowhai Michael Lett

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

Michael Parekowhai Michael Parekowhai Chapmans Homer at the Christchurch Civic

Curator Justin Paton writes that Parekowhai's works "have a way of sneaking up on you, even when they're straight ahead." He continues:

Michael Parekowhai Michael Parekowhai The Arts Foundation

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.

Notable works

  • 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 — 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.
  • 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. 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
  • Solo

  • 2016 "The Tongue of The Dog, outside Waikato Museum, Hamilton, New Zealand
  • 2015 The Promised Land Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia.
  • 2013 The Past in the Present, Michael Lett at the Auckland Art Fair, Auckland
  • 2012 On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch.
  • 2011 54th Venice Biennale New Zealand Pavilion. Also at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France
  • 2011 The Far Side Michael Lett, Auckland
  • 2011 Te Ao Hurihuri Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch
  • 2009 The Moment of Cubism Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2009 Seldom is Herd, Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • 2009 Yes We Are One Day Sculpture, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 2008 Jim McMurtry Maori Hall / Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2007 The Song of the Frog, Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2007 My Sister, My Self Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1994 Kiss the Baby Goodbye Govett-Brewster, New Plymouth.
  • 1994 A Capella, Greg Flint Gallery, Auckland
  • Group

  • 1990 Choice! Artspace, Auckland
  • 1992 Headlands Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
  • 1995–1996 Cultural Safety City Gallery Wellington and Frankfurter Kunstverein
  • 2014–2015 Black Rainbow, Te Papa, Wellington
  • Awards / honours

  • 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

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

  • Works in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki collection
  • Works in the Chartwell Collection
  • Works in the Christchurch Art Gallery collection
  • Works in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery collection
  • Works in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection
  • Works in the Queensland Art Gallery collection
  • References

    Michael Parekowhai Wikipedia

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