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Wayne Youle shines a light on Deane and Hirschfeld Galleries

Wayne Youle “shines a light” on Deane and Hirschfeld Galleries

Artist Wayne Youle says his upcoming show, Fingers Crossed (15 December 2012–10 February 2013) in both the Deane and Hirschfeld Galleries in City Gallery Wellington, is a way of “shining a light” on these well-known gallery spaces.

Youle is the first artist who has been invited to work across both galleries and says Fingers Crossed will be “a way of taking away the crypt-like feeling I get from the spaces, a way of shining a light, the chance to play both fields, be the voyeur and get a sneak peek.” The Deane Gallery was opened in 2009 and is dedicated to the work of Māori and Pacific Island artists. The Hirschfeld Gallery was established in 2000 and showcases Wellington-based artists, architects, designers and other creative practitioners.

City Gallery Wellington is thrilled to have an artist of Youle’s standing exhibit across both galleries. His insightful work, which looks at the post-colonial identity of New Zealanders, perfectly positions him to question the histories and conventions of the Deane and Hirschfeld Galleries.

Visitors can look forward to Youle’s crisp, colourful aesthetic, much of which points to his background in graphic design. Fingers Crossed will present new paintings, video and comical yet canny sculptures that continue the artist’s investigation into race relations, identity politics and the signs and symbols through which culture is communicated.

Youle, who is of both Māori and Pakeha descent (Ngapuhi, Ngati Whakaeke, Ngati Pakeha), is well-known for making artworks that look at the issues raised by bi-culturalism through the prism of an incisive humour. “Humour gives you an in,” Youle says. “It makes most people at least give the work a chance. Some people don’t get the joke and some don’t like the joke…If I don’t use humour I use fact, if I don’t use fact I use fear. Some people find it easier to laugh at the things they fear and even laugh off the truth.”

Wayne Youle returns to New Zealand fresh from completing the prestigious twelve-week SCAPE Christchurch/Artspace Sydney artist residency. Fingers Crossed will feature new sculpture and video artworks created especially for the show at City Gallery Wellington.

“The Fingers Crossed title still remains a mantra for me when I think of culture, my culture, and the interaction of culture,” says Youle. “I used to cross my fingers in the hope that people would accept the fact I am equally proud of being Nga Puhi and Pakeha. We all cross our fingers for different times.”

Wayne Youle will give a floor talk about Fingers Crossed on Saturday 15 December, 2.00pm in the exhibition.


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