Michael Parekowhai

New Zealander, b.1968

Chapman's Homer

  • Purchased 2013 with the assistance of Christchurch City Council through the Public Art Advisory Group, Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation and Westpac, IAG, Ben and Penny Gough, Chartwell Trust, Ravenscar Trust, Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery, Grant and Sandra Close, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Kevin and Joanna Hickman, Stewart and Nati Kaa, Tony Kerridge, McFadden family, Andrew and Jenny Smith, Chapman Tripp, Colliers, Meadow Mushrooms, MWH Ltd, Pace Project Management, The Press; and with additional thanks for contributions from 1,074 other big-hearted individuals and companies.
  • Bronze, stainless steel
  • 2510 x 2710 x 1750mm
  • L03/2014:a-c
  • 2011

When 'Chapman’s Homer' was exhibited at the edge of the devastated central city in 2012, it was positioned between ruin and rebuild just outside the cordon in an empty lot on Madras Street. Our bull stood beside his seated brother while a red carved Steinway piano was played upstairs in an adjacent building. Over thirty days, Parekowhai’s work caught the public imagination as a symbol of the resilience of local people. At once strong and refined, a brutal force of nature and a dynamic work of culture, Chapman’s Homer resonated with local audiences. Subsequently, a public fundraising campaign kept the bull in Christchurch.

Chapman’s Homer was first exhibited in Venice, where Parekowhai represented New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale. It travelled to Christchurch after being shown at the Musée de quai Branly in Paris. Over the past year, we’ve shown it at a number of sites around the city as part of the Gallery's Outer Spaces programme, including Worcester Boulevard, Placemakers Riccarton, New Regent Street, and most recently at Christchurch International Airport. And now the bull is back – standing strong in its permanent home at Te Puna o Waiwhetu Christchurch Art Gallery, welcoming visitors to our reopening exhibitions.

(December 2015)

Related

Exhibition
Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at the Christchurch International Airport

Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at the Christchurch International Airport

Attention cabin crew: something slightly unusual just landed at Christchurch International Airport

Exhibition
Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer on New Regent Street

Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer on New Regent Street

Christchurch's favourite bull can now be found on New Regent Street.

Exhibition
Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at PlaceMakers Riccarton

Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at PlaceMakers Riccarton

Christchurch's favourite bull can now be found at PlaceMakers Riccarton. That may sound a bit unusual, but these are strange times.

Exhibition
Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at the Christchurch Civic Building

Michael Parekowhai: Chapman's Homer at the Christchurch Civic Building

Michael Parekowhai's powerful bronze sculpture of a bull standing on a piano captured Christchurch's heart. After spending the winter in his crate, he's back in time for spring.

Exhibition
Michael Parekowhai: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

Michael Parekowhai: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

Michael Parekowhai's spectacular Venice Biennale installation returns home for its first post-Biennale showing in New Zealand.

Notes
Five years on

Five years on

Today is the fifth anniversary of the February earthquake of 2011 which devastated Christchurch. During that time, we and our city have been through so many different phases.

 

Notes
Chapman’s Homer  at Placemakers Riccarton

Chapman’s Homer at Placemakers Riccarton

Following three months outside City Council's building on Worcester Boulevard – Christchurch's favourite bull can now be found at Placemakers Riccarton! That may sound a bit unusual, but these are strange times.

Notes
Complete bull

Complete bull

It's hard to disagree with Melanie Camp's observation that making artistic decisions is something that we can never avoid.

Notes
Public 'Back the Bull' campaign launches today

Public 'Back the Bull' campaign launches today

Today sees the launch of a major initiative that the organisers believe could in time become a key landmark for Christchurch.

Notes
Homer>Chapman> Keats>Parekowhai

Homer>Chapman> Keats>Parekowhai

For the record, here is the text of the poem by John Keats (1795-1821), written in 1816, entitled On first looking into Chapman's Homer.

Notes
Les taureaux en hiver

Les taureaux en hiver

On Valentine's Day in Paris, He Korero Purakau mo te Awanui o Te Motu Story of a New Zealand River, the third of Michael Parekowhai's pianos from the Venice Biennale, was unveiled to the public.

Notes
Parekowhai in Paris

Parekowhai in Paris

Fresh from its recent success at the Venice Biennale, two works from Michael Parekowhai's project On First Looking into Chapman's Homer have travelled to Paris. 

Notes
Going to Venice

Going to Venice

When I mentioned Neil Semple would be in Venice for the dismantling of Michael Parekowhai's On first looking into Chapman's Homer, I was a bit shy to say that I would be there too!

Notes
Touring On first looking into Chapman’s Homer

Touring On first looking into Chapman’s Homer

Michael Parekowhai's extraordinary sculptural installation On first looking into Chapman's Homer, New Zealand's official presentation at this year's Venice Biennale, finished its triumphant outing at this amazing exhibition on 23 October.

Notes
It's coming here

It's coming here

Yes it is.

Notes

Venice Biennale

It's taken me a while to write about Venice, but the show's still on and the first week of the 2011 Biennale in this memorable and surprising city still fresh in my mind. I was New Zealand's commissioner again and it was a proud moment for us all as visitors poured in – and stayed to listen to the continuous concert – during the Vernissage (the opening few days, in 2011 from 30 May-3 June) of the longest-standing and most prestigious international art exhibition.

Notes

JH & JG on NZ at VB

Watch Gallery director Jenny Harper discussing Michael Parekowhai's work at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Notes
Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Last Friday I visited the Philadelphia Art Museum for the day. PAM was founded 135 years ago (so is 10 years older than Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Auckland Art Gallery). But what a huge difference a great history of philanthropy and generous gifts in kind makes.

Notes
My Sister My Self by Michael Parekowhai

My Sister My Self by Michael Parekowhai

This article first appeared with the headline Top-stair sculpture in The Press on 30 April 2008.

If you've done your first year art history, you're probably familiar with the story of How Sculpture Fell from Grace.

Interview
The London Club

The London Club

In September 2017, Gallery director Jenny Harper, curator Felicity Milburn and Jo Blair, of the Gallery Foundation’s contracted development services, Brown Bread, went to London, taking a group of supporters who received a very special tour of the city’s art highlights. While there, they further developed the Foundation’s new London Club. Recently they sat down together in Jenny’s office…

Notes
Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation's Fifth Annual Gala Dinner

Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation's Fifth Annual Gala Dinner

London's hottest chefs are coming to town – and you're invited to dinner!

Commentary
Anticipation and Reflection

Anticipation and Reflection

This is a time of considerable anticipation at the Gallery: Bridget Riley’s new work for Christchurch is due for completion in late May 2017. A wall painting, it’s the fourth of five significant works chosen to mark the long years of our closure for seismic strengthening following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010–11. It has been paid for, sight unseen, by a group of wonderful women donors, with further support for costs associated with its installation secured by auction at our Foundation’s 2016 gala dinner.

My Favourite
Peter Stichbury's NDE

Peter Stichbury's NDE

Anna Worthington chooses her favourite work from the Gallery collection.

Notes
Everything is illuminated

Everything is illuminated

On Saturday a gala dinner for Christchurch Art Gallery TOGETHER Foundation marked the illumination of Martin Creed's Work No. 2314, the latest artwork funded by the Foundation. Multi-coloured neon letters, over a metre tall, spell out EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT on the Gallery's south wall.

Exhibition
Everything is Going to be Alright

Everything is Going to be Alright

Martin Creed's completely unequivocal, but also pretty darn ambiguous, work for Christchurch.

Collection
Bebop
Bill Culbert Bebop

Bill Culbert made Bebop for a corridor in an old church in Venice, Santa Maria della Pietà, when he represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He found the colourful tables and chairs in flea markets and at attic sales near his studio in the south of France. The title of the work comes from one of the tables.

We were collecting one of the Formica dining sets from a family in Caromb, a small town just south of Mont Ventoux. They brought it with them from Oran in Algeria when they moved to France decades ago, and they still had the receipt with the name of the furniture – Bebop! It was perfect. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie. The dancing was phenomenal. It really is about energy, noise… A very noisy work in a very silent space.

Bebop is a style of jazz that developed in the early 1940s. It’s characterised by its fast tempo and improvisation where solos float free over the underlying structure of the song. Culbert's Bebop floats over the Gallery’s stairs, a wild orchestration of furniture pierced by bars of white light.

Bill Culbert left New Zealand in 1957 with a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art: he splits his time between London and the Vaucluse, with annual trips back to New Zealand. He’s made installations using light and discarded objects – bottles, suitcases, jars, tables and chairs – since the late 1960s, exploring the ways that light and shadow transform the way we see the everyday world.

He describes Bebop as “a vortex of useable things that are out of place.” The Formica and chrome surfaces reflect light, the tumbling furniture creating a sense of movement and energy that travels the length of the work. Culbert calls it kaleidoscopic: “as if they are on their way somewhere but not knowing where they're going.”

Notes
Bill Culbert, radishes, Hut #2, Bluff Oysters, eccles cakes, The Hendersons, and 250 people.

Bill Culbert, radishes, Hut #2, Bluff Oysters, eccles cakes, The Hendersons, and 250 people.

On Saturday night artist Bill Culbert and chefs Margot and Fergus Henderson helped raise the bar for another extraordinary fundraiser from the Gallery and its Foundation