20/20: words of wisdom
reflects on important life lessons artist Wayne Youle has learnt over these past two decades. The book (published in conjunction with the exhibition wayne youle - 20/20: words of wisdom
at Pātaka Art + Museum from 15 December 2019 – 29 March 2020) showcases early works where Youle has taken no quarter in deconstructing and interrogating his own bicultural heritage as an artist of Māori and Pākehā ancestry. Many of these early artworks draw inspiration from a range of contemporary art and pop culture references from Youle’s childhood, such as Gordon Walters’ famous koru paintings, or the shower-curtain Halloween costume from the cult classic movie Karate Kid
(1984). These seemingly disparate influences speak to the cultural politics and personal identity of Wayne Youle as a child of the 1970s and 80s.
Other pieces featured in the book from the exhibition reflect on works made since the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, noting a shift in focus away from Youle’s own personal identity politics towards an engagement with family and the communities that surround them. Insights gleaned from his children, parents and mentors begin to appear in the titles of these recent works, marked also by a noticeable progression towards more complex and labour-intensive art practices.
A detailed introductory essay by Pātaka Director Reuben Friend, along with a Q&A between Lara Strongman and Wayne Youle give background information and context surrounding Youle’s practice and work output.