Michael Parekowhai | The World Turns 2011-12
Michael Parekowhai, New Zealand b.1968 | The World Turns 2011-12 | Bronze | Commissioned 2011 to mark the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art in 2006 and twenty years of The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art | This project has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through art+place Queensland Public Art Fund, and from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist
Michael Parekowhai is known for the use of wry humour and his deft combination of popular culture, art, literature and history.
In The World Turns, Parekowhai casts a small native water rat, the kuril, in the role of hero. Along with the traditional Aboriginal custodians, the kuril is one of the caretakers of the land upon which the Gallery and this sculpture stand. Traditional Elder Uncle Des Sandy tells how the kuril is intrinsically linked to the mangroves that weave around the Kurilpa Point shoreline, which feed it and provide it with shelter, and that these trees, with their strong tentacle-like roots, are the source of nourishment for a diverse ecology. Here, the kuril is planted firmly on the ground, going about its business, even though it has shifted the world – represented by a large, upturned elephant – from its axis. The chair is an invitation to sit and contemplate this remarkable feat.
The World Turns reminds us that history is often recorded to highlight specific moments, but, as the world turns, there are many other stories – and these are central to our understanding of history.
You can view the installation process at our Flickr QAGOMA photostream.