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Bing Dawe Apportion - Eels with Trap, 1997

20 November 2023

Mixed media.
UC/LIB/1144. Purchased 1997.

Location: Ilam Campus, Central Library, Level 2 (James Hight Building)


Bing Dawe’s works often reveal a fascination with eels. He has represented them in many of works as creatures of wonder, mystery, and sometimes even creepiness. In ‘Apportion—Eels with Trap the use of eels was inspired by a photograph of a Māori man seen in front of piles of eels being divided up between families. Here, the eels were used by Dawe to allude to the return of lands and fishing rights to Māori.

Dawe further explained that "this work was exploring issues around the sharing out of resources... I was alluding to ancient practices which because of their modest scale and sensitivity to the resource were able to be shared and sustained. Not so now unfortunately even for a creature as resilient as our native eel, which in many parts of New Zealand is under threat through over fishing and habitat destruction."

Artist's Biography

Bing Dawe( b.1952)

Bing Dawe sculpture "Eel Trap" situated in the James Hight Library, 24/3/07.

Bing Dawe
Aportion - Eels with Trap, 1997
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