Two years ago Michael Parekowhai won the Queensland Premier’s Sculpture commission (run by the former State Government) and a cool million dollars for his design ‘The World Turns’, an enormous bronze sculpture of an upturned elephant eyeballing a water rat. The 5.5 tonne work was delivered by barge this morning and installed on the eastern corner of the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.
Embarrassingly, it was unveiled by current Queensland Arts Minister Ros Bates who last month described the work as an “appalling waste” and questioned why the commission hadn’t gone to an Australian artist. She’s changed her tune however, recently stating “I never criticised the sculpture itself or the artistic benefit of it or the artist. In fact I’m very proud of GoMA and I’m very proud that we have wonderful facilities here in Brisbane, that everyone can appreciate the artwork.” Awkward.