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P11: MICHAEL PAREKŌWHAIjj

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Kapa Haka (Maquette) 2014
automotive paint on fibreglass
410 x 125 x 100mm (each)
courtesy of Michael Lett (Booth B6), Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (Booth B17), and the artist

Michael Parekōwhai’s Kapa Haka series combines elements of both humour and earnestness. Cast from the same mould, his security guards poke fun at stereotypes of Māori men as sullen and imposing, while pointing up the large numbers of tangata whenua occupying trying and poorly paid service positions, looking after the interests of others.

At the same time, Parekōwhai’s guards possess definite mana and gravitas, the titleKapa Haka calling to mind not only the commodification of culture, but also the revivification of tikanga and mātauranga Māori in contemporary Aotearoa. Scattered about the Art Fair, the maquettes underscore the big money involved in such enterprises, while reminding visitors of the centrality of Māori in this, their land.

Image: Michael Parekōwhai, Kapa Haka (Maquette), 2014. Courtesy of Michael Lett and the artist.


P12: LIYEN CHONGjj

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On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 2016
Instagram-based performance
courtesy of Melanie Roger Gallery (Booth B1) and the artist

Liyen Chong’s work has long negotiated multiple cultures, languages, and art forms. In On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (a title borrowed from Nicolaus Copernicus), she will use her Instagram account to document and broadcast activities carried out in her newly adopted home city, Houston.

Chong’s feed will focus on an excursion to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where training, research, and flight control take place. The visit will function as a meditation on the exploration of outer space as an extension of the maritime endeavours that led to the colonisation by Europeans of much of the world.

Through On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, the artist also hopes to emphasise the relativity of time and space, as experienced through the vehicle of social media. The audience will witness Chong’s movements live in her former home, Auckland, even though she is not physically there.

Image: Liyen Chong. Photograph by Birgit Krippner, courtesy of Melanie Roger Gallery and the artist.