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P5: WAYNE YOULE

Welcome, we have the Wi-Fi 2016
mixed media
courtesy of {Suite} (Booth B12) and the artist

Despite its overtly playful qualities, Wayne Youle’s work is underpinned by seriousness. His Welcome, we have the Wi-Fi investigates notions of ‘island time’ and of the Pacific as paradise, while discussing the emigration of people from smaller islands to the wealthier and more ‘teched up’ shores of Aotearoa.

A Pasifika-style welcome sign displays a live feed from a tropical location, inviting reflection on our perceptions of the Islands. A European bird bath plays host to seven dipping birds—one for each of the Pacific ‘ethnic’ groups associated with/identified in New Zealand: Samoan, Cook Islander, Tongan, Niuean, Fijian, Tokelauan, and the ever-present ‘other’.

A pair of sandcastles—one in the form of a state house, one of the conventional, bucket-made sort—raise questions about the position of Pasifika people in Aotearoa, and hint at potential crises on the horizon. The artist notes, “Not intended to have a long lifespan, the sandcastle is an object that always succumbs to self-destruction, human intervention, or environmental elements.”

Image: Wayne Youle. Courtesy of {Suite} and the artist.