At a time when child abuse is rampant and social services are stretched to the limit attempting to save at-risk, predominantly Maori, children, Te Papa is spending $1.78 on a Colin McCahon painting. Te Papa has already spent $2.25-million this year, almost its entire annual budget, and currently owns twenty-nine other paintings by this artist.
In its wisdom, the Government allocated $11-million to the Museum of New Zealand in May, including $3-million annually for new acquisitions. But who will benefit from this extravagant purchase? An elite minority who can apparently appreciate the hidden depths of Colin McCahon’s work.
‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’, but
in the case of much modern art, including Colin McCahon’s,
the beauty seems to be lacking. Indeed, one wonders whether
any small child’s artistic efforts and scribbles for
Father’s Day could not produce something similar to, but
more colourful than, A Painting for Uncle Frank. In this
expensive work, there is very little painting as such, with
at least half the vast canvas taken up with untidy
When many Maori parents – already struggling to feed their families – are facing price rises for the basic necessities of life, it seems ironic that nearly two million dollars should be spent on an artwork with limited appeal.
So much for closing the gaps! For the Christian Heritage Party, the well-being of all New Zealand families has the highest priority, not the edification of a select few.