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The Fred Hollows Foundation Benefited by Artwork

Monday 5 July 2004

The sale of a lifetime’s artwork benefits The Fred Hollows Foundation

When Bruno Mertens, aged eighty-nine years, decided it was time to settle his affairs, he chose The Fred Hollows Foundation as the beneficiary of the proceeds from the sale of a lifetime of artwork by himself and his wife.

Dutch architect, painter and sculptor, Bruno Mertens and painter Susan Burki came to New Zealand from Europe ten years ago. They bought a property near Kerikeri, where they developed Ti Tao, a centre for arts, crafts, healing and meditation. Here, in the earth-covered stucco dome is where Bruno held his art exhibition.

Most of the couple’s work was produced in the mid-twentieth-century years when they studied and worked in cities around Europe, including Paris. Susan Burki died recently, and her work in particular reflects these years and the influence of artists such as Picasso and Miro.

Bruno and Susan were married for 64 years. They met in Switzerland; Bruno having fled there when the Germans attacked the Netherlands during World War II. Around this time, stimulated by Susan, Bruno started to paint. He exhibited his work all over Europe, where his art is now in a number of museums and private collections.

The Buddhist way of living and working is central to the Bruno’s life. He stopped painting during the Vietnam War because he decided that his priority was to teach peace, and he first needed to establish peace within himself.

“Bruno’s decision to donate all the proceeds of his exhibition to the Foundation both surprised and delighted us”, said Kathleen Nash, the Fundraising & Marketing Manager for The Fred Hollows Foundation. “Given the nature of our work, to receive the proceeds of a visual art sale seems appropriate, and we are extremely grateful to Bruno for choosing The Foundation.”

For more information contact The Fred Hollows Foundation on (09) 623 7560 (Auckland), 0800 227 229 (rest of New Zealand) or email .


For further information contact:

Kathleen Nash Fundraising and Marketing Manager Tel: 09 623 7560 or 021 768 888 Email: PHOTO AVAILABLE AT: Caption: Bruno Mertens (left) presents John Hollows (Fred’s brother) with one of his paintings for The Foundation.


The Fred Hollows Foundation was launched in New Zealand in October 1992 to continue the sight restoring work of its founder, kiwi-born Professor Fred Hollows.

The Foundation works towards a world where no one is needlessly blind, striving to provide access to quality eye care to the poorest of the poor living in developing countries.

To date over one million people have had their sight restored as a result of The Foundation’s work with local partners.

Every five seconds one person in our world goes blind; 80% is avoidable.

There are 45 million blind people in the world; 90% living in developing countries.


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