Brett Graham, Artist

This is one of the sculptures in our collection. It was made in 2000. The place where it was made is unknown.
About the Work
Brett Graham's three sculptural works in 'Telecom prospect 2001' were first exhibited in 2000 under the exhibition title 'Stain'. The work references the assimilation of Maori and European cultures in New Zealand. Indeed Graham's colonial school desk is visibly inscribed with European symbols of power, the cross and the lion, while a wider range of more personal icons are hidden from view under the desk's lid.
In his carved kauri relief panels Graham intersperses traditional Maori symbols with European symbols; he stains white black, and black with white. In a kind of performative enactment of the works' thematic concerns, the panels were stained during the opening of 'Stain' with black engine oil and paraffin oil dripping from containers inside the carvings through small openings onto the gallery floor. The carved motifs on the panels are arranged in rows and the sculptures' titles suggest that they are like visual memory aides for reciting karakia (prayer). Yet it is as if specific religious icons have been wiped out of the work leaving blank gaps amongst symbols which reference Maoritanga, colonisation and Graham's own artistic history.
670 x 1020 x 720mm
lacquered rimu
carved school desk
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 2003
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
25 Sep 2003


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