Brett Graham

Te Tumu, 2016

2,300 x 2,000 x 1,600 mm

‘Te Tumu’ is literally a stump or foundation in Maori, and is often used to describe a strong leader or the ‘pillar’ of the community. In the context of Waiheke it is also reminiscent of a tuahu or stone alter. Such tuahu were built by the first Polynesian seafarers to make a claim on the land or to offer thanks to the gods for safe passage. The work is a reminder of the original occupants of the islands and a homage to Ngāti Paoa.

Commissioned for Hamilton Boys High School, to commemorate the artist Horace Moore Jones.

Brett Graham

born 1967, Auckland, Lives and works in Auckland Ngāti Koroki Kahukura

Brett Graham is regarded for his ability to abstract complex historical and cultural ideas into strong and beautiful sculptural forms. Graham places emphasis on materiality, composition and surface in sculptures predominantly comprising wood and stone. Graham’s works may not directly invoke Maori sculptural tradition, however, they are grounded in a Māori world-view and speak of that tradition in their titles and concept, and by engaging in a dual dialogue between Māori and European histories. His art also addresses questions about how people, cultures, nations and religions relate to each other.

Dr Brett Graham has a Doctorate in Fine Arts from The University of Auckland. He completed many major public commissions internationally and has shown at the Venice Biennale (2006) and the Biennale of Sydney (2010). Recent international exhibitions include Looping and Binding, University of Hawaii (2015) and Sakahan, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2013). Graham’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Canada, and the National Gallery of Victoria.

Represented by Two Rooms, Auckland and Bartley & Company Art, Wellington.