Lounge Room Tribalism

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Media Release: July, 2011. 

A closer look into the politics of collecting

Graham Fletcher’s fascinating suite of paintings, Lounge Room Tribalism, examines the role of indigenous art in contemporary collecting and the problems inherent in acquiring art from other cultures and using it as an element in interior design.

Lounge Room Tribalism features ten recent paintings by this respected artist which will be showcased in the Deane Gallery, City Gallery’s space dedicated to the exhibition of Māori and Pacific art.

Painted in detailed oil on canvas, Fletcher recreates affluent European interiors, complete with modernist furniture and the luxurious trappings of Western society.

Decorating the walls of each of these painted scenes are pieces of indigenous art—wooden masks, spiritual icons, small statues and wall hangings—evidently purchased by the well-to-do owners of these homes and used to decorate their living areas.

Reuben Friend, Curator of Māori and Pacific Art at City Gallery Wellington comments, “Fletcher’s paintings force the viewer to think about how Western society consumes art from other cultures—can these objects ever be fully understood from a Western viewpoint? Though these objects are presented in private homes and personal spaces, Fletcher suggests that they continue to be viewed through the considerable distance of time, space and ideology.”

Graham Fletcher (b. 1969) has an extended history of exhibiting in New Zealand and the Pacific. Recent exhibitions include The New Romantics at the Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato (2011), Headlands Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island (2009) and Contemporary Exhibition at the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa (2008). Fletcher received a Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Auckland in 2010.

Fletcher will provide insights into his practice at an artist’s talk in the Deane Gallery at 2pm, Saturday 2 July.