The OCAD Professional Gallery, in collaboration with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, presents Michael Parekowhia’s Jim McMurtry as part of the Planet IndigenUS Festival organized by the Harbourfront Centre and the Woodland Cultural Centre.
The presentation of this inflatable sculpture of a dead rabbit, 12 metres long and 4.5 metres wide, is the first exhibition of Parekowhai’s in Canada. Jim McMurtry will be presented in OCAD’s Great Hall.
Like much of Parekowhai’s work, Jim McMurtry is an audacious piece that uses the rabbit to symbolize colonialism’s complicated history. Having been introduced in the 1840s to New Zealand to give colonizers something to hunt, rabbits adapted all too well to the country, and became a serious pest. Nearly two centuries later, they continue to be a problem with no easy solution. Exterminating them would amount to a highly visible campaign to ‘massacre bunnies,’ but the clock cannot be turned back to a pre-colonial, rabbit-free time — nor would this necessarily be desirable. The ambivalence thus captured in Jim McMurtry (and its companion work, Cosmo McMurtry, held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia) introduces self-portraiture to the work, referencing Parekowhai’s Maori and European heritage.
“This piece uses humour and surprise to invite us to consider the complications arising from colonial and post-colonial situations,” says Charles Reeve, curator of OCAD’s Professional Gallery. “Bringing Jim McMurtry to Canada has provided OCAD with an opportunity to collaborate with some of Toronto’s leading cultural organizations, and celebrates the launch of our Aboriginal Visual Culture Program at OCAD.”
Jim McMurtry will be featured on bus tours organized by Harbourfront Centre to visit off-site presentations with the Planet IndigenUS Festival. For more information, visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com/planetindigenus or www.ocad.ca/professionalgallery.
This exhibition is made possible with the support of Creative New Zealand and the President’s Office at OCAD.
OCAD Great Hall hours: Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5:00 p.m.
Official Website: http://www.ocad.ca
Added by smulholland on July 23, 2009