Bronze bulls and cultural vandalism
Travelling from the 2011 Venice Biennale, on to Paris, then Christchurch and now, Wellington, New Zealand is Michael Parekowhai ‘s installation On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer .
The centrepiece of the installation is the bright red, carved, grand piano and I look forward to seeing it again in its new space at Te Papa – NZ’s national museum. ( Te Papa has bought this part of the installation)
I saw the installation in Christchurch in June 2012 but will be sure to see it indoors here in my new city: I’m sure its surroundings make a difference. When I saw it the bronze pianos and bulls were outside – in a patch of cleared rubble – there after buildings had been demolished following the city-destroying quake in February 2011. I loved the setting. In Venice it was in a 15th century, Gothic palace.
Interestingly, or rather ironically, in Christchurch the piano, titled He Koreoro Purakau mo te Awanui o te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, was inside a Christchurch Art Gallery “Outer Spaces” space in the NG building on Madras St.
This historic building, the old Bains warehouse, is one of very few left in the city after the quake and resulting demolitions in the inner city. This repaired, safe building is scheduled to be demolished for a sports stadium: appalling cultural vandalism.