- Fibreglass mannequin with black tie, dinner suit and name tag
- Purchased with the support of Christchurch City Council's Challenge Grant to the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust, 2011.
- 1800 x 550 x 450mm
“The thing about identity – it’s much more complicated than just being Māori or just being this or just being that.” — Michael Parekowhai
The title of this work recalls the old children’s rhyme that lists tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. Chanted to suggest careers for boys, or who a girl might marry, the song removes all self-determination. The implication here is that for Māori the options are limited. Modelled on the artist’s father, Poorman’s suave appearance is undercut by the name badge reading “Hello my name is Hori” – a transliteration of George (Parekowhai’s father’s name), but also a common racist term for Māori. Parekowhai says, “I make objects that set a scene or present a stage on which other things can happen, on which the real art can take place.” Poorman operates on many levels – its visual appeal is quickly replaced by discomfort as we realise we might be looking at the subject of racism dressed up in a dinner suit.
(Te Wheke, 2020)