On First Looking into Chapmans Homer by Michael Parekowhai narrated by Jenny Harper

Commissioner's Statement

It is with great pleasure that New Zealand presents the work of Michael Parekowhai at the 54th La Biennale di Venezia in 2011. This is the fifth time New Zealand has presented the work of its contemporary artists in Venice and I thank Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, as well as all other donors and supporters of the artist for their huge financial and other assistance with this major project.

Michael Parekowhai is a highly-respected artist who is representative of the best of New Zealand contemporary art practice. On first looking into Chapman's Homer is topical and polished; he will create a sense of drama and surprise for the large audiences who go to see La Biennale di Venezia in 2011. Michael Parekowhai's work operates on many different levels of meaning and, most certainly, he will contribute to the growth of New Zealand's reputation as an increasingly significant player on the world stage.

Michael Parekowhai is to exhibit in a quintessentially Venetian building and his response to this site - both the specific palazzo and the city of Venice during the Biennale - will underscore his reputation as an artist who fluently combines artifice with aspects of high culture. The work has several components, each of which is familiar and also uncannily unique and of New Zealand. The whole will become a boldly different foray, an unexpected Maori Kapa Haka presented in Europe with confidence.

A special aspect of the conception of On first looking into Chapman's Homer is its inter-disciplinary nature. Its potential for performance is crucial to its presentation and effectively the work is finished by the musicians and audience.  On first looking into Chapman's Homer will be accessible on differing levels, ensuring its reach to communities of local Venetians as well as its status as a 'must-see' attraction for Biennale visitors. As Commissioner, it is a special privilege to commend Michael Parekowhai to all.

Jenny Harper, New Zealand Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2011

The official site for Michael Parekowhai provides full information on On first looking into Chapman's Homer at the 2011 Venice Biennale.