Major arts' works coming home

  • Helen Clark
Arts, Culture and Heritage

The government has decided to transfer 59 major works of art presently held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to New Zealand public art galleries and museums.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for public galleries and art museums to enhance their collections," said the Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Helen Clark, and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff.

"These are significant works by well-established New Zealand artists. They have served a valuable role in representing New Zealand art and culture abroad.

"Now they will come home to be seen by the New Zealand public. It is very appropriate that they will remain in public institutions and in professional hands," the ministers said.

"Many of the works were purchased before the artists acquired national and international acclaim. Foreign Affairs and Trade has made perceptive acquisitions over the years. The value of the works has appreciated now to an estimated $3.4 million."

An independent commissioner will be appointed jointly by the Foreign Affairs and Trade and Culture and Heritage ministries to develop an appropriate process for the distribution of the works to public art institutions.

The time for the works to be brought back will be determined by freight and other logistics, plus finding replacements for posts.

Helen Clark and Phil Goff said that the works will be replaced by selecting from emerging artists who provide a distinctive statement of contemporary New Zealand culture.

"There are real benefits to the artists in displaying their works in our overseas posts. It provides an opportunity for them to gain an international profile. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide that opportunity.

"From now on the ministry's art works holdings will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure turnover to reflect current developments in New Zealand arts and culture," the ministers said.

List of artists whose works will be distributed

Gretchen Albrecht
Philip Clairmont
Colin McCahon
Charles Goldie
John Weeks
Michael Illingworth
Ralph Hotere
Buck Nin
John Weeks
Rudolph Gopas
Gordon Walters
Milan Mrkusich
Toss Woollaston
Nicholas Chevalier
Tony Fomison
Richard Killeen
Gordon Walters
Donald Binney
Brent Wong
Patrick Hanly
Evelyn Page
Louis Steele
Cliff Whiting
Frances Hodgkins