This bronze sculpture by Adelaide-based artist Michelle Nikou stands in almost comic contrast with the famous faces that populate the plinths of North Terrace further west.
Nikou trained as a ceramic artist at the South Australian School of Art. She graduated with a Bachelor of Design in 1989 and a Master of Visual Arts in 2005. Her work blurs the line between fine art and craft. Many of her pieces are preoccupied with imbuing unremarkable, inanimate objects with new significance. Paper Bag is no exception.
Through reimagining the paper bag as a durable bronze object, Nikou presents a playful commentary on anonymity (putting a paper bag over your head) and ‘the establishment of success’. Yet, as Nikou herself has made clear, her work is open to interpretation:
‘my big thought is trying to get people to work with the meaning that’s in the work, rather than the meaning that I tell them it’s about’.
Bolton, Ken. Michelle Nikou. Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2005.
City of Adelaide Bike Art Trail, 'Paper Bag', accessed 20 October 2018.
Keys, Melissa and Kendrah Morgan. 'Michelle Nikou: a e i o u'. University of South Australia Samstag Museum, https://www.unisa.edu.au/siteassets/episerver-6-files/global/samstag/exhibitions/2017/michelle-nikou_sma_keys_morgan.pdf accessed 20 October 2018.
Wolfe, Ross. 'Samstag Alumni 2010: Michelle Nikou', https://www.unisa.edu.au/Business-community/Samstag-Museum/Samstag-Scholarships/The-Samstag-alumni/2010/Michelle-Nikou/ accessed 20 October 2018.