Wayne Youle: Ajar

Created as part of Crux★Te Punga in response to the demolition of the Hereford Street Police building, Wayne Youle’s AJAR examines ideas about space, time, and access.

Light that leaks through a door, sending mixed messages of whether it is about to be or supposed to be closed, securing whatever or whoever is inside; or whether it is about to be opened allowing whatever or whoever is inside… out.  

AJAR began with an interest in the text found throughout the holding cells of the now-demolished Central Police building, from the formal, instructional signage intended to ‘help the process’ and ‘make the stay safe’, to the text and marks left behind by the occupants. Exploring these oppositional writings led Youle to thinking about TIME and SPACE, particularly “a shitty, cold, and unfriendly space, and time that is taken.”

Filled with traditional craft objects created from non-traditional materials - used prison-issue bedding, blankets, and a cell door - Youle acknowledges the various vocational courses and classes offered to prisoners in our justice system.

But the materials and subject matter also call on a criticality when it comes to the prison system. Youle offers both subtle sculptural works with meanings that require viewer effort and a degree of commitment, to “slap in the face” honesty and statistically-driven works.

AJAR both plays on and calls out the dualities, the double standards; much like a door left ajar - not quite closed, not quite open; the conceptual image of light leaking through, speaking to hope and freedom; the dark nature of being “inside” and the brightness of what is “outside”.

Wayne Youle is a New Zealand contemporary artist of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke and Ngāti Pākehā descent, residing in North Canterbury. Central to his multimedia practice is the exploration of his bicultural heritage, melding humour and subversion to challenge concepts of race, identity, and cultural commodification.