Cosmo McMurtry is major work by critically acclaimed New Zealand contemporary artist Michael Parekowhai. Concerned with popular culture and identity politics, Parekowhai’s works interrogate the history and impact of New Zealand’s colonial past via both Maori and pakeha (non-indigenous) perspectives. Rich with cultural and historical references, his works encourage multiple and often contradictory points of view. Read against the broader context of his practice, which typically examines relationships between Maori and European cultures, Cosmo presents more questions than he answers. Is he the cute, defenceless bunny that his benign exterior suggests, or a malevolent symbol of colonial expansion? Like many of Parekowhai’s works, Cosmo McMurtry operates on a universal level via the popular appeal of kitsch while simultaneously engaging with issues that are historically and geographically specific.
The Melbourne Art Fair Foundation Commission
The Melbourne Art Fair Foundation Commission was established in 2006 to provide a significant opportunity to a living artist to realise a large-scale work for exhibition.