- Purchased, 2005
- Galvanised enamel and acrylic on canvas
- 1720 x 1960 x 50mm
In the 1980s, you could smoke almost anywhere you liked in New Zealand—on aeroplanes and in schools, at restaurants and at work. An Act of Parliament introduced in 1990 and extended in 2004 banned smoking from most indoor public places. Grant Takle’s painting responds to the 2004 anti-smoking legislation, seeing it as a symbol of the change in the old order which had been echoing through New Zealand society since the early 1990s.
There were other public controversies in the air in 2004. The Foreshore and Seabed Act, which vested ownership of the coastline in the Crown, was the subject of protest. ‘Haters and wreckers’, a phrase on the right-hand side of Takle’s work, refers to the heated public conversations that swirled around this issue, while the scuba diver, Takle says, “is a kind of Aquarian Icarus diving into the convoluted depths and undercurrents”. No Smoking is full of coded symbols that refer to hot-button politics in Aotearoa New Zealand. “The card pips and the acorn are all seeds from which larger issues grow. And the flames relate to land ownership and occupation, as well as the passion of heated discourse—there’s no smoke without fire.”
Takle used silver galvanised paint to draw a netting-like skin on the work, in response to seeing the Belgian lace made and collected by his British ancestors. “There was something I responded to in this craft that I integrated into my work. Its patterns and repetitive motifs dovetailed into my own practice. They were web-like nets that held images in place. There was a tension that created energy fields, currents of cause and effect as well as knotted connections and family ties.”
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)