Apportion - Eels with Trap, 1997
UC/LIB/1144. Purchased 1997.
Location: Ilam Campus, Central Library, Level 2 (James Hight Building): See trail map No: #3 (PDF, 2.5KB)
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."