Links help to build strong and vibrant collections

Collegiality between institutions, colleagues, collectors and artists is an essential component of good and vibrant exhibition programming. It can lead to enriched collections, opportunities to access objects that would otherwise be unavailable, and the synergy that collaboration can provide.

Our current exhibitions and events are evidence of exactly that.

Tonight we have the official opening for our new exhibition I AM/WE ARE; a retrospective of works from the artist Nigel Brown’s personal collection. In this case Nigel is both artist and collector. The exhibition was created and curated by the Aigantighe Art Gallery who decided to tour the show, with MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum as the first North Island venue. Our connection with this exhibition runs deeper still. Jess Mio, our Curator- Art, curated the exhibition in her previous role at Aigantighe Art Gallery, and though not on display in this instance, we hold six of Nigel’s works in the museum collection.

The Tasman-Smith collection, on display in the Bernard Chambers Gallery, is an example of the importance of good working relationships with collectors. This private collection of twelve late 19th century New Zealand paintings was gifted to the museum by Thelma Tasman-Smith, and through this generosity they’re now available for all to enjoy.

Many of you will be aware that our Lalique exhibition is the result of a strong relationship with a generous collector, Jack C Richards. You may not be aware however, of the important role collegiality between institutions played in this exhibition. Some of the Lalique works currently on display in our gallery had to come off display at Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, and we’re grateful for the support we received from Tairawhiti, rearranging their own display, to accommodate our show. Eloise Wallace, Director at Tairawhiti Museum, has since asked if they can have the exhibition as we have created it, to display there after we close it later in the year. Obviously they have access to the entire Lalique collection any time they want but what adds value for them is the curatorial research and consideration that Jess Mio has put into the selection and grouping of works, the text information about different influences, timeline information about Lalique as a person and his career, and so on.

The Dick Frizzell exhibition ‘Artist’s Proof’ will also be loaned to Tairawhiti where for display from 14 October to 27 November. Both the Lalique and Dick Frizzell exhibitions are examples of a closer collegial working relationship between our institution and Tairawhiti Museum, and that can only lead to good things for the future.

Of course working close locally is vitally important and Toni MacKinnon, Director of Hastings City Gallery, and I meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest or concern, to liaise with each other around programming and to provide support for each other where we can. We’re also part of a larger network that we have created called the East Coast Directors Group which includes Hastings City Art Gallery, Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum, Wairoa Museum, Tairawhiti Museum and MTG Hawke’s Bay.

Collaboration takes many forms. The current Sea Walls Festival has a link with the museum and has been supported by Council. This festival sees national and international artists creating large scale murals on buildings throughout Napier. At the Museum on Sunday 20 March we’ll host the Sea Walls: Ocean Film Fest and Artists Panel discussion in the Century Theatre. There’s a rich array of long and short films throughout the day. Tickets ($10 / $7.50/Children Free) include admission to all film screenings, the panel discussion and entry through the museum so it’s a very accessible community event.

All these relationships are the way museums and galleries build strong and vibrant collections andoffer interesting exhibitions and public programmes which, we hope, appeal to our local community and our visitors from out- of-town. We hope the juxtaposition and mix of stories, art and events will inspire you to come and visit us and enjoy the truly magnificent works and experiences available.

Nicola Zaaiman and Sara Perrett from MTG Hawke’s Bay’s collection team prepare Dick Frizzel’s works for transport.

Nicola Zaaiman and Sara Perrett from MTG Hawke’s Bay’s collection team prepare Dick Frizzel’s works for transport. Photorapher David Frost.


Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay

Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 12 March 2016


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