Per Capita is a ten ton steel sculpture by Wellington artist Cathryn Monro sculpture located on the corner of Cable St and Tory St, outside the Museum Hotel in Wellington.
The work consists of four gigantic portraits, up to four meters high. Two pieces are shaped as portraits in profile, and two have the profiles cut out from a square – i.e. two are in positive form and two in negative space - evoking, in the artist's words, “a visual conversation about the complexity of New Zealand's cultural identity.”
The profiles are based on actual portraits of people who are connected through genealogy, “But” says artist Cathryn Monro, “the specific history of these people is not the point of the work. The portraits signify diversity in family histories throughout New Zealand and foremost is the notion that personal history is paramount in the formation of a national one.”
“Per Capita means ‘for each head of population’. The composition of the work is very simple; it’s a 4 piece puzzle. Yet the pieces don’t fit together. So it’s not simple anymore. An obvious sense of fitting and belonging is immediately confounded. Per Capita seeks to open up the question of what it means to be a New Zealander and to publicize the importance of that conversation”. - Cathryn Monro
Image courtesy of Wellington City Council