Luke Willis Thompson


Artwork Detail

This work has now become both a legacy of Auckland’s intimate art and exhibition history, and extends a point of minor social history, once looming large in the city’s news media.

Originally exhibited as part of Between Memory and Trace at Te Tuhi, Pakuranga a group exhibition curated by Bruce Phillips, these three doors were exhibited again less than a month later at the Auckland Art Gallery as part of the 5th Auckland Triennial.

The three roller doors were once owned by Manurewa businessman Bruce Emery and were the site, on the morning of 26 January 2006, that Pihema Cameron and a friend choose to tag. The two teenagers were spotted by Emery, pursued on foot and Cameron was stabbed and killed with a fishing knife.

The artist has written of the work: “The graffiti, the argued catalyst for the homeowner’s attack on Cameron and the evidence present on these objects, was noticeably absent from media coverage. Instead, the story that emerged prioritised Cameron’s illegal actions over his victim status in a crime said by some to be racially motivated. The doors are symbolic of an interchange between private individuals in a suburban environment: one property owner, and one writing their name on the neighbourhood’s scaffolding.”

The legacy of this event is what Thompson pursues. Both the unresolved story of social justice - Emery was found guilty of manslaughter (not murder) sentenced to 4 years and 3 months, but serving 11 months in prison before serving another year in home detention – but also the physical object and its ability to provide a trace or residue of this highly political and emotionally charged event for the family involved.

Luke Willis Thompson
Production date
spray paint, garage doors from Mahia Road, Manurewa, sensor and lights
2000 x 3025 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2013
Accession no
Other ID
X2013/15 Old Accession Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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