All there is/The Consolation of Philosophy



The Consolation of Philosophy / Piko Nei Te Matenga are large scale, framed photographs. Exhibited in the 2002 Sydney Biennale, they comprise 12 different arrangements of flowers in cream Crown Lynn vases - on one level, a terrific spray of colour for the lounge. This embodiment of good taste however, is also studied memoriam, as each is titled after a WWI battlefield upon which the Maori Battalion fought. So Ypres for example, comprises a coloured array of roses; while Calais is perhaps more autumnal in palette. Richly coloured still, but unlike Parekowhai's other photographs, cool against their white grounds. And appropriate too - for a young man trained in the gentle art of flower arranging, fresh out of high school.

All There Is completed Parekowhai's 2002. Inspired by his son's attachment to his cowboy hat and badge, Dad raided the $2 Shop's stock of sherriff's badges, and snapped them directly and symmetrically (as is his habit), against a hot pink ground. Justin Paton has written a marvellous article describing this period of Michael's practise in Art New Zealand 103. Earlier, helpful articles on Parekowhai are Robert Leonard's essay "Patriotism" in the catalogue Ten Guitars, published by Artspace, Auckland in 1999; and Mark Amery's "Know just where you are", New Zealand Listener, 24/6/2000: pp 36-37.