In Wonder Full, Pat Hanly reduces the image to emblematic simplicity. He imagines a paradise, where human relationships are based on wonder, love, joy, innocence and acceptance: ‘all races in harmony, love, live, despite greed and wars. Birds sing, stars appear. Moon and sun glow and life goes on’. This utopian vision is brought to our attention by a knowing infant, who points to the possibility of a fresh perception of an ideal world.
This life-affirming work was completed against a background of personal discovery and friction within New Zealand. A racially selected South African rugby team toured the country in 1981, resulting in social divisions and battles between anti-riot police and protesters. Racial tensions increased with the occupation and forced evacuation of Māori from disputed land.