Friday, June 18, 2010

Capital Art - A Maori Perspective.

"Spinning Top"
Robert Jahnke 2002
Woodward St. Wellington

This is one of my favourites among the many contemporary New Zealand sculptures commissioned by the Wellington Sculpture Trust in partnership with the Wellington City Council, to enhance the capital city's urban environment. It was created by leading Maori artist, Professor Robert Jahnke, who is currently Head of School and Maori Visual Arts Co-Ordinator at Massey University in Palmerston North. Jahnke (Te Whanau a Rakairoa, Te Whanau a Iritekura, Ngai Taharoroa, Ngati Porou), was born in the East Coast settlement of Waipiro Bay in 1951. He has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and internationally since 1982 and his work and career is an exploration of what it means to be a Maori artist. While an advocate for biculturalism, Jahnke often explores the issues around injustices to Maori through his artwork; and his sculptures often feature both Maori and Pakeha symbolism. Along with many wood constructions, Jahnke has also worked as an illustrator and in film and two of his best known commissions are door works for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the wall reliefs for Bowen House in Wellington.

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