Craig Keller

Craig Keller

  • Artist

    Michael Parekōwhai

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    C-type photograph

  • Size

    1210 x 1015 mm

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2000

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    08 Sep 2000

  • Department

    New Zealand Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Subjects

    rabbits, colonisation, taxidermy

  • Chartwell Notes


    In recent years, Parekowhai’s childhood nostalgia has transmuted into memorialism—death becoming a key theme. He got into taxidermy. Neil Keller and Craig Keller (2000) are big photographs: extreme close-ups of a stuffed rabbit’s glass eye. The images are horrific. It’s like being eyeballed by a monster rodent, except, of course, the eyes are blind. Included in his show, The Beverley Hills Gun Club, these portraits were titled after gunsmiths, conflating the shooters and the shot, hunters and quarry, predators and prey. Parekowhai extended this dialectic of fear and pity in Roebuck Jones and the Cuniculus Kid (2001). Two stuffed rabbits decked out in kids’ cowboy regalia are caught in a high-noon showdown. The piece represents an imminent duel, yet—fatalistically—the protagonists are already dead. In New Zealand, rabbits are imported pests, who are being exterminated, and yet we’ve inherited sympathetic images of bunnies as lovable and cute through English folklore. (Parekowhai grew up on Beatrix Potter, in which the farmer was always bad.) This work draws on our conflicted identifications: rabbits potentially representing both sides of the colonial conflict: villain and victim rolled into one.


    - Robert Leonard, Nine Lives, ex. cat. (Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery, 2003).

Exhibition history