Contemporary New Zealand art will take centre stage when ‘Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land’, a major exhibition spanning 26 years of the artist’s career, opens at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) this weekend.

Curated by the Gallery’s Deputy Director, Collection and Exhibitions, Maud Page, the exhibition is showing exclusively at Brisbane’s GOMA from 28 March to 21 June 2015.

This free exhibition will challenge preconceived ideas of a typical art viewing experience and engage a diverse audience, including over 1000 school students who are pre-booked to visit the show.

The exhibition of over 50 works plays with scale and size, with works including a two-storey family home built inside the Gallery housing a large sculpture of Captain Cook, an intricately carved, functioning red Steinway grand piano and giant, kitset pick-up-sticks.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said from the first inclusion of his work in ‘The 3rd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT3) in 1999, the Gallery had a longstanding relationship with the artist.

‘Ideas of memory and commemoration are explored in depth in ‘The Promised Land’. Michael’s work is rich with meaning and symbolism, as well as being playful and humorous.

‘Visitors will also come face to face with a wall of super-sized Cuisenaire rods, the popular teaching aid from the 1950s and two brightly-coloured cartoon bunnies – a recurring motif in Parekowhai’s practice,’ said Mr Saines.

Maud Page said that while the exhibition would feature many seemingly familiar works by the artist, it was not strictly a retrospective.

“The Promised Land’ offers the most comprehensive presentation to date of Parekowhai’s practice, with works from across his career presented together for the first time in surprising combinations. I am honoured to have been able to work with him for the past 20 years,’ Ms Page said.

On Saturday 28 March, visitors will have the opportunity to hear from Michael Parekowhai in conversation with Maud Page at 11.00am in Cinema A at GOMA, as part of a day of programs and events in conjunction with the exhibition.

From Sunday 29 March, experienced pianists can become part of the art with a series of monthly participation events activating the spectacular red Steinway piano, He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river 2011. Further information on playing the piano and how to apply, can be found online www.qagoma.qld.gov.au.

‘The Promised Land’ has been realised with thanks to Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa and The Chartwell Trust, Auckland, New Zealand, and through the generosity of the New Zealand Supporters Group established by Dame Jenny Gibbs and Dayle Mace.

A substantial publication devoted to the artist’s practice has been published by the Gallery in association with the exhibition. The catalogue showcases Michael Parekowhai’s sculpture and photography in philosophical, political and art historical terms, representing the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to collecting, researching, exhibiting, publishing and interpreting art from the Asia Pacific region.

With the opening of ‘Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land’, GOMA now presents three diverse, Gallery-curated exhibitions all exploring the careers of internationally-renowned artists. ‘David Lynch: Between Two Worlds’ continues until 7 June and ‘We can make another future: Japanese art after 1989’, celebrating the Gallery’s extensive collection of contemporary Japanese art, continues through until September 2015.

For more information visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au


Michael Parekowhai is Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. His exhibition history spans almost two decades, showing regularly in New Zealand and internationally in major exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (2011), ‘Biennale of Sydney’ (2002); ‘Gwangju Biennale’ (2004) as well as the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (1999 and 2006).

For more information visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

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