As you enter the exhibition room at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson, you are greeted by a fine display of a wall full of terracotta kiwis. Lined up in columns of 4 and 2, it is easy to get a count – and here lies the rub. If you knew that the artist is Donna Sarten, or if you checked on the label for the display, you would have known that there are more sinister things in store than just 1320 kiwis on a joyful parade. And if your eyesight is good enough, or you finally put on your glasses for a closer look, you will find depressing text written on the individual kiwis.
The title of the work is “New Zealand’s Roll of Shame“, with the explanatory text: “From 1900 to 2011 approx. 1320 New Zealand children have died at the hands of their parents or caregivers.”
While the figure of 1320 is by necessity an estimate, the scale of the work rams home the size of a problem that has been in our news too often in recent years.
Using a pretty picture to highlight anything but.
Food for thought.
Part of an exhibition by CEAC artists (The Deep End of the Mud Hole), finishing on April 10.
Published analyses, with discussion of the difficulties in raising statistics: