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Wollongong City Gallery 2009

Wollongong City Gallery - 


'In her first exhibition at Wollongong City Gallery New Zealand born artist Julie Krone explores the spaces and interaction between Pakeha (New Zealanders of predominantly European ancestry) and Māori cultures.


Krone, an artist of British heritage, is fascinated by the conflicts and questions that arise when two cultures meet within one national identity. This investigation of biculturalism has a parallel here in Australia, where conflict between white and Aboriginal cultures provides subtle and poignant parallels for Australian audiences.


In mis-translated, Krone has printed the word ‘Pakeha’ in broken and repeated fragments onto cubed wooden posts and blocks, exploring concepts of cultural conflict and exchange through the use of language, text and visual pattern. Symbols merge and interchange, the letters of the English alphabet morphing into Māori curled arabesques. This pairing of the precision of European written language with visually complex Māori symbols, which were read as a kind of language in an otherwise oral culture, results in layered and beautiful visual imagery.


Resembling an arrangement of giant toy building blocks, the posts in Krone’s installation also evoke the wooden structure of Māori meeting houses. Their physical relationship forms an imaginary forest of fragmentary collisions through which the eye moves. Myriad possibilities emerge from these juxtapositions, open to new meanings as well as mis-translations. It is often in the fertile ground between cultures that the richest, most hybrid possibilities emerge.


One key to understanding this work is the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 by the British crown and Māori chiefs. The English and Māori language versions of the Treaty differ significantly, and there is no consensus as to exactly what was agreed. Māori seem to have had a range of understandings, many of which conflicted with the British understanding. This slippage in interpretation is the space that mis-translated explores.'


Michael Beare 

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