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The Dowse reveals it's diverse collection for Xmas

30 November 2004

Five dolls, Four designer chairs, Three Toby Jugs, Two McCahons and a hip hop mural... The Dowse reveals it's diverse collection for Christmas.

A commercial office Formway Life Chair, a huge Disruptiv hop hop graf(itti) mural and two 1940s gouaches by Colin McCahon are just a few of the more than 100 items included in The Dowse's new exhibition The House of Dowse.

Also included are works from Rimutaka Prison, a beautiful watercolour by Dorothy Kate Richmond and works by New Zealand's leading glass artists and jewellers. Throw in a felt bag, ceramic covered doilies and papier mache dolls and you begin to get some idea of the surprising mix that makes up this exhibition of works from The Dowse collection. "The House of Dowse includes works we have purchased since 1998", says Programme Developer, Claire Regnault, who leads The Dowse acquisition team. "This is a chance for us to show the community what we've been up to as we move The Dowse into the 21st century",

The House of Dowse sprawls unashamedly across three galleries and will remain on display at The Dowse, Lower Hutt, until 6 March 2005.

Since opening in 1971, The Dowse's collection has rapidly grown and evolved into a significant and eclectic mix of New Zealand art, craft, design and most recently fashion, furniture and street art.

"The House of Dowse reflects The Dowse's guiding vision of 'engaging creativity'," says Regnault. "We're continuing to build on our strengths in the decorative arts field, but also to think hard about the ways creative practice is changing and about how we can better reflect the creative life of the local community".

The exhibition title comes from a drawing by Sonny Broughton, a respected Gisborne graf(itti) artist. The work was purchased during The Dowse's inaugural celebration of Hip Hop culture - the 1999 Respect Festival.

"At the time both the festival and the acquisition of this drawing raised some interesting questions about The Dowse's involvement in what was seen by many as a passing youth fad.", says Regnault. In retrospect Dowse staff see the Respect festival - repeated in 2001 and 2003, and again next year, as having been a defining project. "Its been one of the projects that's really made us stand back and reconsider what is going on in New Zealand in this new century, and what an institution like The Dowse needs to do to reflect this".

The House of Dowse is the last time the museum's thought provoking collection will be on display before The Dowse closes in July 2005 for extensive redevelopment.


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