237.130 Week 12 – In-Depth Artist Analysis

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Parekowhai, Michael. Te Ao Hurihuri. 2009. 3600 x 2400 x 2250mm. Fibreglass, aluminium, automotive paint. 

Michael Parekowhai, in his work, Te Ao Hurihuri employs sculpture to symbolise a concept and make the viewer think about something. He uses object/subject, the elephant as a symbol in itself, as well as its positioning, colour, title. Elephants are often used a symbol for colonization, a work animal, or else commonly known by the idiom “the elephant in the room”. By using a symbol, like the elephant or the book end, Parekowhai shows the viewer something that they can bring their own interpretation to the work, and rather than telling the viewer what to think, the viewer is made to think for themselves and question what they would normally assume about a work, or an idea within society. The title as well places an idea in the readers mind; Te Ao Hurihuri refers to the idea that the world turns slowly. We get a feeling that the world has been tipped on its head, which leads to conotations of the changing world, and globalization. I think sculpture is a good way to express a concept, and get people thinking, rather than just giving them the facts. Displaying it in a gallery has good and bad consequences, though. The audience at galleries is select, and so the work is not understandable or accessible to everyone, but it gives the work a feeling of grandness, and of importance. The subject/issue should speak to the intended audience.

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