Bronze bulls take up residence in Christchurch


Vacant lots abound in Christchurch as more and more buildings in the central city have been demolished.

Many of these vacant lots sit empty, except for the occasional cluster of wildflowers, weeds, and broken bricks, while owners work through red tape in an effort to re-build.

But on the corner of Madras and Lichfield Street, the weeds and earthquake debris are keeping company with two life-sized bronzed bulls – on concert grand pianos.

I kid you not.

The work of New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai, this drive-by art installation is part of the On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer sculpture exhibition that represented New Zealand at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Up on the second floor of the art gallery that overlooks the bulls is another part of the exhibition – a carved 1952 Steinway piano painted Ferrari red and some delicate brass cast olive trees protected by a bronzed security guard.

Given that the inspiration for the sculpture came from a poem by John Keats (Looking into Chapman’s Homer) that explores issues of exploration, discovery and the cultural interplay between old and new worlds, it seems fitting that it is currently residing in a city that is in constant state of exploration and discovery.

Parekowhai’s 2011 Venice Biennale sculptural installation, On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer, will run at the Ng Gallery until July 29, 2012.


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