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Govt Brings Artworks Home To New Zealand

THURSDAY 20 DECEMBER 2001 Media Statement

The ‘homecoming’ of artworks formerly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will enable New Zealanders to enjoy more of the outstanding work of New Zealand artists, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark said today.

Helen Clark was speaking at a function at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa this afternoon to celebrate the gifting of two significant artworks to the museum by the government.

“Earlier this year Foreign Minister Phil Goff and I announced that 59 major works of art held by MFAT and its posts around the world, worth around $3.4 million, would be brought home and donated to public art galleries and museums throughout New Zealand for public display.

“This homecoming is now under way. Care has been taken to donate works to galleries and museums where they will complement existing collections.

“Te Papa will receive two of the repatriated artworks, Sandfly Bay, Otago by nineteenth century artist Nicholas Chevalier, and Painting 59-1, by contemporary artist Milan Mrkusich.

“Fittingly, Milan Mrkusich has already made his mark at Te Papa. The coloured glass installation on the outside of the museum is his creation.

“Aside from their own artistic significance, the two paintings gifted to Te Papa illustrate the breadth of the MFAT collection, ranging from colonial art to modern, challenging pieces at the forefront of the New Zealand contemporary art scene.

“Over the next two to three years, 24 galleries and museums throughout New Zealand, from Invercargill to Whangarei, will receive art from the MFAT collection.

“The artists represented form a roll-call of New Zealand’s best and most enduring artistic talent, ranging from Colin McCahon, to Frances Hodgkins, Tony Fomison, and many other others.

“As this art by New Zealand’s established artists is distributed throughout New Zealand, it will be replaced at MFAT’s posts with works by emerging artists who provide a distinctive statement of contemporary New Zealand culture.

“I congratulate freelance curator Alexa Johnston for the outstanding job she has done in working with MFAT and the recipient institutions to identify which artworks would be sent to each location.

“With Alexa’s report as a blueprint for action, New Zealanders will now be able to enjoy even more of the outstanding art produced in our country over the last 150 years,” Helen Clark said.

Ends

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