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Rusty Kane: On The Removal Of "Hands On"

Press Release
Rusty Kane - "Hands On"

The agreement I had with the management of Puke Ariki after the had broke their own contract with me last year, resulting in me loosing an $8000 contract sale. Was that "Hands On" was to stay where it is on the south wing wall of the library until it sold for $8000 or more, if it did not sell for the full amount $8000 Puke Ariki would make up the difference. No other arrangements were made or time limits set.

The Puke Ariki managements reason for taking "Hands On" down so abruptly was "Because it was drawn to the manager of Puke Ariki attention that I was promoting the piece as a political issue in a letter to the editor, also that I am a candidate in the local body elections. Puke Ariki has to be trusted by the community as a politically neutral service leaving them no choice but to remove the piece" Well Hello" It always has been a social political piece.

The fact that the management of Puke Ariki is taking it down is political and it is about politics. The reason I will be seeking legal action through the judiciary is because of their breach of contract and agreement. The management of Puke Ariki acted politically when they decided to take the art work down, they were also disappointed that I went over their heads to circumnavigate their decision. This obviously hurt their feelings and they acted negatively towards me because of it.

Just because the NPDC management has a problem with me standing in the local elections is irrelevant. There is no need to take it out on the artwork itself. "Hands On" from the beginning has always had an artistic, social and political meaning. It's art for goodness sake. It is suppose to provoke public comment in today's society. I am saddened that the NPDC management picked such a grievous time for CEPRA for whom the artwork has special significants. It was wrong to take it down at a time when CEPRA had just lost a dearly loved member.

The Puke Ariki management should at least have the decency to discuss the thing first with me before deciding to dismantle the work. I would have told them that now is not the time in respect of that member and the Paritutu residents for which I have just dedicated the "Hands On" and the exhibit to them and their recently deceased member in their honour. This artwork depicts their struggle to be recognised for the chemical exposure.

The NPDC management have in my opinion stooped to new lows of disrespect to its community and ratepayers. Their thoughts have been reflected in this manner for the last 7 years when they started to disregard their ratepayers to the north in Waitara over the leasehold lands. The chaos there was also cause by broken promise and disrespect to that community. This formed the Waitara Leaseholders Association Inc that brought about legal action that has also cost the NPDC great amounts of money.

I can only conclude that the "Hands On" exhibit was so successful as a community art project in a public place that it has become an embarrassment to the council. The NPDC spends around $3 Million dollars per annum on art projects they choose (and in my opinion they don't even know the meaning of art) yet when the community liked "Hands On" at no cost to the ratepayers. The comments book reflects and proves this statement. So they get rid of it pronto sighting it as being political?

I note Michael Smither's first page comment in the comments book that went with the exhibit; "Political comment in art is the most dangerous and the least effective form of art."

I have to agree it is dangerous, but I would have to disagree, it's been very effective in spite of and considering the NPDC management's action to remove it so suddenly. Removing the art work will not remove their responsibility to the people of this district "the ratepayers". "Hands On" will now always have a place in the hearts of the Paratutu residents.

"Art is the best form to effectively record and effectively communicate the historic past" Anon

Rusty Kane


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