Monday, March 07, 2016


When Michael Parekowhai decided to paint red the carved piano He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu just days before it was to head off to the Venice Biennale, the paint job was a radical gesture. And even more radical given that the piano was black when it had been purchased by Te Papa. Now that's a vote of confidence in an artist. Now an OTN reader has just sent us a pic that shows that there’s not one but two red pianos in Te Papa’s collection. One is the carved version by Parekowhai while the other is a baby grand (literally). It was made in the UK in the fifties by O & M Kleeman under the brand Kleeware. Unlike the Steinway modified by Parekowhai, this tiny grand is just 3cm high designed, as it was, to furnish a doll’s house.

Images: left, Kleeware and right, Michael Parekowhai’s He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, both collection Te Papa Tongarewa. Thanks A