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Auction of Renowned Artist’s Works to Benefit DFNZ

9 September 2013

Auction of Internationally Renowned Artist’s Works to Benefit DFNZ

A significant collection of artworks from internationally renowned British artist Mackenzie Thorpe will go under the virtual hammer this month to help raise funds for the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (DFNZ).

An estate sale of 20 of some of Thorpe’s most important works, ranging from original artworks to limited edition prints, hand-painted cast resin marquettes and bronze sculptures, are being sold online at Ocula Black ( Some 10% of the proceeds will go to DFNZ to support its fundraising for Dyslexia Advocacy Week in 2014.

Thorpe has a longstanding connection with DFNZ and contributed two monumental bronze sculptures – ‘Falling In Love’, and ‘Skipping’ – to the Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit permanent outdoor gallery in Christchurch. A small bronze of ‘Falling in Love’ is up for auction, with an estimated value between $20,000-$35,000. And a cast resin artwork of ‘Skipping’ is being offered with an estimated value between $1800-$2500.

Guy Pope-Mayell, DFNZ Chair of Trustees, says the foundation is honoured to be the recipient of a share of the proceeds, which will go towards fundraising for DFNZ’s Dyslexia Advocacy Week (DAW) next March.

“Mackenzie Thorpe has tremendous international significance and is one of the world’s most sought after and collected artists. Undiagnosed dyslexia saw Mackenzie leave school with no qualifications, but he went on to cultivate a powerful creative viewpoint which gives his work poignancy and emotional depth.

“Mackenzie’s works express a range of human emotions and are testament to the resilience of the human spirit. His success in pursuing a creative path speaks to the creativity that often lies within those who think differently,” Pope-Mayell says.

Ocula Black director Simon Fisher says a number of artworks in the collection are either original artworks or sculptures that have been sold out worldwide.

“This is a rare opportunity to acquire some of Mackenzie’s most iconic images. Mackenzie struggled with dyslexia from a very early age and his work is a constant reminder of how brilliant but also how dark that journey has been. A personal favourite, and one we expect to be keenly sought after, is the white cast parin sculpture ‘This is All My Love’ – a marquette for the monumental sculpture of a cloaked young boy pulling an oversize red heart, an image that is recurrent in Thorpe’s most popular artworks,” Fisher says.

The artworks can be viewed at

The auction is the first stage in DFNZ fundraising towards DAW – 17-23 March 2014. The focus for the week will be equipping parents to advocate for their child’s right to access the learning they need in New Zealand classrooms, with teaching adjusted to accommodate learning differences. In this way, creative strengths can be harnessed and self-esteem nurtured.

While dyslexia is often misunderstood as just a problem with reading and writing, in reality it can affect a spectrum of skills from auditory and visual perception, planning and organising, and motor skills, through to short-term memory and concentration. On the plus side, it can bring creative gifts – like innovation, big picture thinking, enhanced spatial understanding and out of the box problem solving.

DFNZ has already begun laying the groundwork for DAW with a nationwide film screening initiative to provide free DVDs for local showings of acclaimed dyslexia documentary The Big Picture. Designed to help people understand more about dyslexia, more than 500 screenings for students, parents, teachers and community groups have been held over the last few months.

Directed by film-maker Jamie Redford, son of actor and director Robert Redford, the Big Picture was inspired by Redford’s family experience with dyslexia and features interviews with high profile, high achieving dyslexics including Sir Richard Branson and financier Charles Schwab.

About Dyslexia Foundation New Zealand
Since inception in November 2006, the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand has changed the landscape of dyslexia in New Zealand. From lobbying the Government for dyslexia to be officially recognised, achieved in 2007, through to mainstreaming dyslexia and changing the paradigm from one of disability to one of difference. The DFNZ philosophy and approach is based on three principles:

• Recognition: identifying and naming the issue
• Understanding: noticing what this means for everyday life - at school, home, and work
• Action: adjusting the approach to improve outcomes - at school, home and work

These principles were brought to life in successful awareness and action weeks in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as creation of the 4D programme for schools and providing professional development opportunities for teachers. More recently, DFNZ has been working with the Ministry of Education to highlight the need for better processes and funding for NCEA exam accommodations. Its current focus is preparing for Dyslexia Advocacy Week, -17-23 March 2014.

About Mackenzie Thorpe
Mackenzie Thorpe was raised in the industrial town of Middlesbrough, England in the 1950s. The eldest of seven children, his father worked as a labourer and his mother as an auxiliary nurse. Mackenzie had undiagnosed dyslexia and left school without qualifications. He worked in a series of manual jobs but eventually got the courage to apply to his local Art College. His natural ability to draw and create gave him an outlet for expressing himself and, while his lack of education and a barely readable application did little to support his submission, the strength and volume of work that Mackenzie presented saw him succeed. He first won a place at Middlesbrough College of Art and subsequently the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. After leaving art school, he spent several years working with inner-city children in London. Since then, he has become one of the world's most collected and sought-after artists.

About Ocula Black
Ocula Black is an online art auction and e-commerce service, offering collectors the opportunity to buy and sell artworks online from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Ocula Black offers significantly lower transaction costs compared to ‘brick and mortar’ auction houses. Ocula Black charges a listing fee to vendors, a seller’s commission and a buyer’s premium. The e-commerce facility provides for the direct purchase of artworks from the website. Ocula Black has recently begun to explore and develop partnerships with charitable organisations to run online benefit auctions. There are two events scheduled this year with more in development.


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