Strangely Familiar: Portraits by Wayne Youle

The fun is trying to guess when you visit Wayne Youle's exhibition of Strangely Familiar portraits.
Frances Speer
Published on January 12, 2018


Artist Wayne Youle likes to play around with cultural icons and identity. He once made series of lolly pop hei tiki ('tiki pops') as a tongue-in-cheek but seriously compelling comment on the commercialisation of Maori culture.

This time Youle has taken portraits of well-known New Zealand arts and culture personalities and applied a pop art treatment to simplify the famous faces into flattened graphic shapes. Hair, noses, ears and eyes become solid blocks of colour, yet fascinatingly, we can still piece these parts together and recognise the faces. Artist Ralph Hotere, architect Ian Athfield, comedian Billy T James, and author Margaret Mahy are among the 34 portraits on display.

Strangely Familiar is on show at the Pah Homestead and is touring courtesy of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.


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