Boy Am I Scared Eh!
Boy Am I Scared Eh!
mixed media on paper
2770 x 2500 mm
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1997
20 Aug 1997
New Zealand Art
abstraction, text, symbols, symbolism, Koru, politics, identity, land rights, colonisation
Kī tonu te mahi toi o tēnei wā a Peter Robinson ki ngā tohu e mātātaki ai i ngā nawe o tō tātou hītori koroniara, ko te kaikiritanga, ko te toihara, ko te tuakiri. I te Boy Am I Scared Eh!, 1997 kei te kitea te āhua o te makaurangi i roto i te koru – he tohu mō te tuakiri ahurei o te tangata, he whakamiramira hoki i te puakitanga e karapotia nei, ānō nei he taunu mīreirei. He ngū tonu tēnei tohu tuakiri ā-kiko, heoi ka whakauruhia ana ngā āhuatanga o te tuakiri ki te ahurea, ka matatini haere, ka tuwhera kia tautohea, ka uaua. Ko tā te maha o ngā toi a Robinson i taua wā, he āta aro atu, he whakawā, he whakamāmā i aua āhuatanga matatini. Ko te tuhinga ‘Boy Am I Scared Eh!’ he tohutoro i te toi peita a Colin McCahon’s 1976, *Scared*. I a ia e rangatahi tonu ana, ka mea atu a McCahon: ‘Ka āta whakamahia ana te mauri o te toi peita, ka nui tōna mana hei kaikawe i ngā whakahounga o ngā nawe pāpori . . .’
Peter Robinson’s work from this period is loaded with symbols that confront head-on issues of our colonial history, racism, prejudice and identities. In Boy Am I Scared Eh!, 1997 the spiralling koru (unfurling fern frond) can also be read as a fingerprint – a symbol of a symbol of uniqueness but also as emphasis to the statement it surrounds, as if to poke fun in defiance. This physical marker of identity is netural, but when ideas of identity enter the cultural realm they become complex, contested and loaded. Much of Robinson’s work during this time considered, critiqued and deconstructed that complexity. The text, ‘Boy Am I Scared Eh!’ references Colin McCahon’s 1976 painting, *Scared*. As young man McCahon once commented: ‘The force of painting as propaganda for social reform is immense if properly wielded . . .’
(Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, 2020)
Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
05/12/2020 — 09/05/2021