Object: He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river
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|Title||He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river|
Parekowhai, Michael (artist), 2011, Auckland
|Medium summary||Original Steinway grand piano (Model D), brass, added timber, cast and flat bar steel, resin, ivory, ebony, mother of pearl, paua and lacquer|
|Materials||wood, ivory, brass, lacquer, steel, ebony, paua shell, resin, mother of pearl|
|Classification||sculpture, grand pianos|
x 1670mm (Height)
|Credit line||Purchased 2011 with the assistance of the Friends of Te Papa|
|Registration number||2011-0046-1/A-N to N-N|
'There is no object I could make … that could fill a room like sound can.'
Michael Parekowhai, 2011
He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river is the central work of Michael Parekowhai’s 2011 Venice Biennale installation. It is his sixth piano sculpture and took more than 10 years to create.
Performance is key to the work, which aside from being a spectacular sculpture is also a perfectly tuned instrument – a Steinway concert grand piano. Parekowhai recounts hearing it played at its debut: ‘The object disappeared – the actual piano just kind of melted away.’
Many other ideas are also at play. The title refers to a 1920s New Zealand novel, which in turn inspired Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano. As Christchurch art curator Justin Paton has noted, Parekowhai ‘reverses the direction of these narratives’. No longer is ‘culture’ imported from Europe. In transforming the piano, Parekowhai shifts the perspective, boldly making New Zealand the source.
Paton asks: ‘Is it a European instrument decorated with Maori carving, or a Maori carving that has engulfed a piece of European high culture?’
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- The Story of the Story of The Story of a New Zealand River An Annotated Bibliography of Resources Informing Interpretation of The Artwork He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu (2011) by Michael Parekowhai - Victoria University of Wellington
- Michael Parekowhai, 2011 - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
- On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer (solo exhibition) - The University of Auckland Library
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