OCAD University

OCAD Professional Gallery presents Michael Parekowhai’s

Jim McMurtry as part of Planet IndigenUS

(Toronto—July 23, 2009) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Professional Gallery presents Michael Parekowhia’s Jim McMurtry from August 14 to 23, 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 a collaboration with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and is the first exhibition of Parekowhai’s in Canada. Jim McMurtry will be presented in OCAD’s Great Hall.

Michael Parekowhai's Jim McMurtryLike 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.

Michael Parekowhai’s Jim McMurtry
August 14 to 23, 2009

Ontario College of Art & Design
Great Hall, Level 2, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000 Ext. 265 | www.ocad.ca

All are welcome; admission is free.

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.

Artist’s Biography
One of New Zealand’s foremost contemporary artists, Michael Parekowhai has exhibited extensively over the last 20 years, his work held in every significant public and private collection in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in permanent collections across the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. He has participated in many important exhibitions, including the Asia Pacific Triennial (2006–2007), the Gwangju Biennale (2004); and the major art fairs in Basel, Switzerland, Art Basel (2006, 2007) and LISTE (2007). In 2007, the Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland produced a major volume cataloguing Parekowhai’s practice. Parekowhai’s work has been featured in most major international art periodicals, and in every major art periodical in Australasia.

Born in Porirua, New Zealand in 1968, of European and Maori (Nga Ariki / Ngati Whakarongo) descent, Parekowhai graduated with a BFA (1990) and MFA (2000) from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts, and in 2001 received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate award. He is currently Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.

OCAD Professional Gallery
Launched in April 2007 with solo exhibits by Rirkrit Tiravanija and Karim Rashid, OCAD’s 1200 square-foot Professional Gallery is devoted to facilitating connections between, and the contemplation of, contemporary art and design. The gallery is featuring The Path of Most Resistance until September 13. 

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For more information or images, please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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