Michael Parekowhai, Colin McCahon, Jim Allen 

Exhibition now closed 25 Aug – 23 Sep 2012
Level 5
Free entry

He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river [piano] 2011, Parekowhai, Michael (1968– ), Auckland. Purchased 2011, with the assistance of the Friends of Te Papa. Te Papa

Te Papa is delighted to announce a special one-month programme to coincide with the showing of Michael Parekowhai’s 2011 Venice Biennale exhibition, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.

Showing alongside Parekowhai’s works are four paintings by Colin McCahon and three installations by Jim Allen, selected from Te Papa’s art collection.


Michael Parekowhai: Venice Biennale

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, by Michael Parekowhai, was originally presented as New Zealand’s contribution to the 54th Venice Biennale 2011. It has been specially reconfigured for its month-long showing at Te Papa.

The exhibition features He Kōrero Pūrākau mo te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, an extraordinary and ornately carved red Steinway grand piano, alongside the other major components of the installation. The artwork can be heard every day from 12.30pm - 1.30pm.

See works by Michael Parekowhai in the exhibition
See all works by Michael Parekowhai in Te Papa’s collection
Find out more about Michael Parekowhai at the Venice Biennale 2011


Colin McCahon: Four paintings

The four paintings by Colin McCahon reflect the range of McCahon's interests: in Māori culture, questions of religious faith, conservation, and the environment.  Spanning 15 years of his later work, the paintings exploit the dramatic power of white against a black background. McCahon’s use of white suggests spiritual illumination – the triumph of life over death, faith over doubt, hope over despair.

Te Papa holds 71 works by McCahon, who is widely regarded as New Zealand’s pre-eminent 20th century artist. A number were acquired by the Museum’s former curator, the late William McAloon, whose scholarship did much to enrich its collection and public programmes.

See works by Colin McCahon in the exhibition
See all works by Colin McCahon in Te Papa’s collection
Read about Colin McCahon
Watch Tales from Te Papa: Conservation of Colin McCahon's Northland Panels
The Colin McCahon Online Catalogue

Jim Allen: A sensory experience 

Jim Allen has played a significant role in the development of contemporary art in New Zealand. His works Small worlds, Tribute to Hone Tuwhare, and Space plane, environment no. 1 are key examples of ‘post-object art’. The works were originally designed for people to walk through – challenging the accepted understanding of sculpture at the time. By creating a ‘small world’ that can envelop and surround the audience, Allen proposes that sculptures can be environments for people to experience, rather than just objects for viewing.

In Tribute to Hone Tuwhare, Allen incorporates lines from a poem by his contemporary, the poet Hone Tuwhare (1922–2008). Tuwhare’s poem, called ‘Thine own hands have fashioned’, echoes Allen’s desire to create a rich, sensory experience.

See works by Jim Allen in the exhibition
See all works by Jim Allen in Te Papa’s collection
Watch an interview with Jim Allen
Watch Jim Allen read Hone Tuwhare’s poem, Thine own hands have fashioned
Watch the camera explore Jim Allen's works