Posts Tagged ‘Rakena’

Ok, ok ‘love’ might be an exaggeration but the hype surrounding the hosting of the RWC here in New Zealand has brought some good things about. A friend did say that it’s a pity that it takes a sporting event to bring out the good art but hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth eh?

Firstly, and maybe just a coincidence, but the refurbished Auckland Art Gallery has just opened in time for the cup crowds. Apparently it’s a stunner .

In Wellington there is a collaborative exhibition Oceania between the City Gallery and Te Papa. Some of the best of NZ art will be on show. I’d give A LOT  to get to this exhibition – if you can SEE IT!

In my area the Dunedin Public Art Gallery has Fiona Pardington’s The Pressure of Sunlight Falling exhibtion and also the wonderful Hotere/Culbert work Pathway to the Sea – Aramoana on show.

Ralph Hotere and Bill Culbert
Pathway to the Sea – Aramoana 1991(detail)
paua shells, rocks, flourecent tubes.
Collection Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

I think its good that these shows provide some thought-provoking material rather than the postcard tourist variety. None more so (I think) than another local exhibition – Rachael Rakena’ 3D video work Haka Peepshow situated in Dunedin’s Octagon.

“Kaupapa:- Haka Peepshow is a celebration of the diversity of contemporary haka in Maori and broader New Zealand culture. In an era, when the haka is frequently a commercial branding device, this coin-operated peepshow invites viewers to take a fresh look at the haka and to consider it in the broader context of the sexualisation and commodification of Maori sportsmen and the representation of their masculinity and culture in the media.”

OK – it’s taken rugby to get all this art out there but I hope visitors and locals alike take something deeper away from it.

NOTE: Sadly, the Christchurch Art Gallery remains closed but their blog, ‘Bunker Notes’ is very active and always worth reading.

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Art and Politics

I heard somewhere this week that the peace symbol was having its 50th birthday. I was surprised that its not some organic hippy creation but designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist.

 So what about political or protest art here. I read recently that “political art is so last century” which seems a little odd as there still seems a lot to protest about. And if you take this view then all art is political “It may well be that an artist can realize aesthetic triumphs while ignoring society, but willful unconcern regarding social matters is also a political position.”

Maybe protest is just a little passe, so I looked back to some major political events ‘last century’, inspired by seeing the Hotere Land of the Wrong White Crowd piece at Te Manawa recently, in protest against the 1981 Springbok tour. Hotere also did his Aramoana works in protest of the proposed smelter being built there, Black Rainbow for the Rainbow Warriror sinking and some more recent ‘Jerusalem‘ works in reaction to events in the Middle East.

Black Union Jack
Black Union Jack, Ralph Hotere

I guess my era was that of the the end of the Vietnam war, the Land March, Bastion Point and the Springbok Tour and that seemed a fertile ground for artists. I was looking for images from Clairmont’s “No Tour” exhibition, as he was heavily involved in the protests but can’t seem to find any – although his Vietnam pictures are about. Ans Westra, Marti Friedlander and Gill Hanly’s photography is particularly strong of the 1981 tour.

So I am thinking…is this a 20th century phenomena? Where is today’s political/protest art or is it just more subtle?  I get the BIG obvious stuff (like Parekowhai) and I did take note of Aniwaniwa by Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena, so perhaps I am just missing it.

Also, was there ever an exhibition of 1981 Sprinbok tour protest art? – there’s a lot about. Would have thought it might have been done in 2006?


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