Tui Slater Conceptual Artist



Ollie and Delphi 2007


Ollie and Delphi Sculpture

Art Form Sculpture
Theme ---
Materials Canvas of a tipi, acrylic paint, rope, wooden stakes, nylon, metal pegs
Size Variable

I like to examine issues and raise questions of our culture, languages and society, which seems to love to pigeonholing people and groups, mostly without much thought.

"To generalise is the norm…. Is it a reflection of how we don't see ourselves?"


My research for this work is based on battles won and lost between taggers and older folk in our community. This installation was about the view from no-mans-land, the middle of the Kerikeri domain, which is bordered on one side by a skate park, and on the other a retirement village. Many students spend time at the skate park and pass through it, across the domain, and take the shortcut past the old folk homes to the local high school. The fences from the skate park to the school are great canvas for taggers. From this could we assume that the skateboarders and students are the taggers? From my observations some might be, but not all are. Generalisations can be damaging, as false assumptions can be the cause of much unrest in society.

This work brings together elements from each of these subsets of our society. By using the inner lining of our tipi (the equivalent of the lounge wall), I seek to open up a dialogue, much like a powwow, where on a neutral ground we can speak our mind.

The work is painted with acrylic paint, and highlighted with embroidery. Text in English is shadowed as used in graffiti art to ‘pull the word out'. Here I translated the phrases into Greek, as a reference to “it's all Greek to me” as when the general public look at graffiti and try to understand it they are mostly lost.

I used nylon as my thread for the embroidery, as a metaphor for fishing for answers (from both sides).

The skeleton structure relates to building blocks of learning between these cultures, and the lining is turned inside out as I am interested in where we believe art should be seen. In the home prized art is framed and hung on the lounge walls. On the street, in public, we see everything that appears on buildings as graffiti / street art and we view it as purely vandalism. The fact that street art, which is created in real time, is an expression of the youth that are defining their future holds no credence in the eyes of the public. When members of the older generation purchase ‘masterpieces', which they see as investments, as things of beauty and as reminders of past memories, they are lorded as great supporters of the arts.

If only both sides could see each others viewpoints. That is what this work is about.

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