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Wilson represents PM at Venice art show

3 June 2001 Media Statement

Wilson represents PM at Venice art show

Attorney-General and Labour Minister Margaret Wilson will this week represent the Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Helen Clark, at the Venice Biennale, where New Zealand artists are being represented for the first time.

The Venice Biennale is regarded as the most important event on the international visual art calendar and draws huge audiences of artists, curators, critics, collectors and media from around the world.

The two New Zealand artists are Auckland-based Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson, who is currently working in Berlin, Germany. Both are of Ngai Tahu descent. Jenny Gibbs, the well-known art patron and philanthropist, is New Zealand's commissioner for the event.

Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson said Creative NZ had identified the Venice Biennale as a major opportunity to promote New Zealand and our art to an influential international audience.

"The Venice Biennale has a huge international reputation. Two years ago it attracted over a quarter of a million people.

"This year's event, which runs from June to November, is an opportunity to promote New Zealand and build important relationships within the visual art world. Australia has been participating for a number of years and believes it has gained significant benefits from the investment.

"Representation at major recurrent international exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale, is one of the most effective ways of promoting New Zealand art, ensuring maximum art industry attention and access to the general public.

"It is also an excellent opportunity for cultural diplomacy with many occasions for the participating countries to develop their international relationships.

"That is why the Tourism Board, Trade New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be using the Venice Biennale to promote the merits of New Zealand as a trading partner, tourist destination and artistically vibrant nation," the ministers said.

Margaret Wilson will travel on to Geneva to represent New Zealand at the ILO conference, and hold talks in London with the Attorney General, Solicitor General and Lord Chancellor on constitutional and electoral matters.


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