NZAK / New Zealand Army Knife
Limited Edition Screenprint on paper (Framed)
700 x 500mm.
In the late 1800’s the Swiss Army equipped its soldiers with a multipurpose tool, consisting of a Blade, Screwdriver and Reamer. When American GI’s discovered this tool after World War II, the knife evolved into a mass produced product for global distribution. Swiss Army became a household brand.
In this piece, the Swiss Army Knife symbolises the transitional movement of elements of New Zealand’s cultural identity from the realm of traditional or sub-culture into the global arena as mass-marketable commodities for the popular culture. Traditional national symbols, such as the Tiki now step onto European catwalks whilst the Silver Fern appears at global sporting events alongside some of the world’s largest multinational identities.
Whilst the exposure and merging of cultural symbolism can create exciting new context and opportunity, there is a need to preserve something of its traditional roots, exercising sensitivity towards, rather than exploiting its values. As with a knife, the difference between tool and weapon is sleight of hand.