2011 Venice Biennale

Michael Parekowhai, Kapa Haka, 2003, fibreglass. automotive paint, 1850 x 600x 500mm, Image: Patrick Reynolds, courtesy the artist and Michael Lett, Auckland.
Michael Parekowhai has been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

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One of New Zealand’s most dynamic contemporary artists Michael Parekowhai has been invited to represent New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Michael Parekowhai was recommended to Creative New Zealand by an external advisory panel convened by 2009 and 2011 Venice Biennale Commissioner Jenny Harper.

One of New Zealand’s most dynamic contemporary artists Michael Parekowhai has been invited to represent New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Michael Parekowhai was recommended to Creative New Zealand by an external advisory panel convened by 2009 and 2011 Venice Biennale Commissioner Jenny Harper.

Creative New Zealand has extended an invitation to Michael Parekowhai to attend the biennale and he is now in the early stages of developing a proposal for Creative New Zealand support. 

The Venice Biennale is the pre-eminent global contemporary visual arts event attracting a host of international artists, curators, critics and collectors.

Venice Biennale Commissioner Jenny Harper said Michael Parekowhai was a highly respected artist who represents the best of New Zealand contemporary art.

“He is at an ideal stage in his career to take on the challenges of Venice. Michael’s work is topical and polished; he can be relied on to create a sense of drama and surprise,” she said.

“The large audiences which attend the Venice Biennale will be surprised at his ability to operate on so many different levels of meaning.  He will continue to grow New Zealand’s reputation as an increasingly significant player on the world stage.”

Arts Council of New Zealand Chair Alastair Carruthers said the Venice Biennale was a cornerstone of Creative New Zealand’s international visual arts strategy.

“New Zealand’s ongoing representation at this major international exhibition is one of the most effective ways of promoting New Zealand art to an overseas audience,” he said.

In December 2007 Creative New Zealand’s Arts Council committed to a New Zealand presence at the Venice Biennale for the 2009, 2011 and 2013 exhibitions.   Creative New Zealand's investment in the 2011 Venice Biennale is $650,000.

Creative New Zealand made the decision to invite participation in the 2011 Venice Biennale in response to advice from the visual arts community that it would be a more effective way to engage with senior level artists, than a contestable bid.  This process has been adopted for 2011 Venice Biennale only and other selection options will be considered prior to the 2013 Biennale.

About Michael Parekowhai

Michael Parekowhai (b. Porirua, 1968) is a New Zealand sculptor of Ngati Whakarongo and European descent. He makes a broad range of work, across a range of media that intersects sculpture and photography. Parekowhai's narrative is complex. He draws on an abundant range of 'readymade' vocabularies which are then re-manufactured in the work.   Parekowhai was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award in 2001, and is currently Associate Professor at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts.  Parekowhai has an extensive exhibition history. His work is featured in most major private and public collections in New Zealand and Australia and many overseas, including major works in permanent collections across the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

About the advisory panel

Chaired by Arts Council chairman Alastair Carruthers, the advisory panel was made up of the following prominent contemporary art professionals:

Jenny Harper: Commissioner; Director of Christchurch Art Gallery

Elizabeth Caldwell: Director of Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Rhana Devenport: Director of Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Heather Galbraith: Senior Curator, City Gallery, Wellington and curator of 2009 Venice Biennale artist Francis
Upritchard’s exhibition

Charlotte Huddleston: Curator, Contemporary Art at Te Papa

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki: Professor and Head at Elam School of Fine Arts

Written by

Creative New Zealand

25 Feb 2010

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