Michael Parekōwhai was born in Porirua, in 1968, of European and Māori descent. He graduated with a BFA (1990) and MFA (2000) from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts.
He is also Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. His exhibition history spans two decades of practice. In 2001 Michael was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate.
In 2011 Parekowhai was the sole artist to represent New Zealand at the 54th Venice Biennale, one of the major events in the international arts calendar.
His powerful work, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer was well reviewed in national and international publications, attracting 40,000 visitors.
The same year he was named Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka, Māori of the Year for Arts, and awarded the prestigious Premier of Queensland Sculpture Commission.
Michael gave his talk to KPAT the day after the opening of his provocative sculpture, The Lighthouse, on Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf.
This wonderfully political work represents Parekowhai’s knack for using art to open up space for a debate on government and corporate actions drawing attention to the communities they impact.
Michael Parekōwhai https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Parekowhai
February 12, 2017