Brett Graham is one of New Zealand’s most exciting and accomplished sculptors, highly regarded for his ability to abstract complex historical ideas into formally strong and beautiful sculptural forms. Graham places strong emphasis on materiality and surface with the formal simplicity of his sculptural pieces and predominant use of wood and stone.Read More
From the Ngati Koroki sub-tribe of Tainui, Graham explores complex historical, political and cultural ideas, transforming them into compelling artistic statements, often witty and ironic. He works on large-scale projects in varied materials, which he has resulted in many large public commissions. At the Biennale of Sydney, he presented versions of western ‘weapons of mass destruction’, such as a Stealth Bomber with its identity reformed by carved Māori symbols (Te Hokioi, 2008), as well as a new work: a near full-scale Russian BRDM-2 scout car (Mihaia, 2010).
Just as western nations often appropriate the names of 4th world peoples for their weapons (Apache, Comanche,) indigenous peoples have appropriated the technology of their enemies as ritualistic power symbols. A response to colonisation has been the rise of indigenous millennium cults seeking salvation, and identification with both the lost tribes of Israel and later the plight of Palestinian refugees.
Brett Graham has been included in many major exhibitions throughout New Zealand, Australia, Canada and USA. His work, Aniwaniwa, a collaboration with Rachel Rakena, is currently being exhibited at the 52nd Venice Biennale 2007 collateral events, and their work UFOB was shown at the 2006 Sydney Biennale. His many public commissions include Kahukura, for the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, and most recently Whaowhia for the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Text courtesy Two Rooms.
Hawaii has a population of more than 1.4 million people but not a single museum is dedicated to contemporary art, said Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, a co-founder of the first Honolulu Biennial, which will open in spring 2017. “We can both highlight our tremendous local talent as well as bring in national and international contemporary artists...
New Zealand's official platform at the Venice Biennale began in 2001, and our formal representation was arguably already overdue at this point. There had been anomalous instances of New Zealanders exh