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NZ To Send Two Artists To Major International Show

NZ To Send Two Artists To Major International Art Show

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that New Zealand would be represented by two artists at next year's Venice Biennale, the most important event on the international visual art calendar.

A selection committee established by Creative NZ has chosen Auckland-based Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson, currently undertaking a residency in Germany, to represent New Zealand in Venice next year. Jenny Gibbs has been appointed New Zealand's commissioner for the event.

Helen Clark, who is also Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said Creative NZ had identified the Venice Biennale as a major opportunity to promote New Zealand art to a massive and influential international audience.

"The Venice Biennale has an international reputation equal to none. It draws huge audiences from the art world – artists, curators, critics and collectors - media and general visitors. The last Biennale in 1999 attracted over a quarter of a million people.

"Next year's event provides 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 has found 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 will contribute to the creative and professional development of the artists, Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson, both through the exhibition experience itself and by placing them alongside their international peers.

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

"This is an idea whose time has come. New Zealand regularly sends overseas other examples of our culture and heritage – whether it be the NZSO, the ballet, writers to Menton, or sporting teams. The Venice Biennale will give New Zealand's hugely talented visual artists an opportunity for international exposure," Helen Clark said.

Creative New Zealand has committed up to $500,000 seeding funding (per biennale) to the New Zealand presence at the Venice Biennale for three biennales ($1.5m in total over 6 years), but is actively seeking sponsorship and patronage to off-set these expenses.

The Venice Biennale will run from June through to November.

For further details and background information on the artists:

Penelope Borland, Communications Manager
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04 498 0723, 025-534 177

Iona McNaughton, Communications Writer
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04 498 0715

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