Celebrating the Art Collection
19 December 2022
On 23 November 2022 we gathered with the Adam Art Gallery Patrons, senior University leaders and special guests to celebrate several milestones for the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection: we introduced our new te reo name; launched an online database; welcomed five additions to the Collection; and announced the Parkin New Art Prize.
The Collection’s new Māori name is ‘Ngā Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka’. This ingoa was gifted by the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori. It plays on the te reo name of the University and our marae as the mooring or hitching place of canoes, a place where all are welcome. It extends this metaphor by referring to the Collection as 'puhipuhi', or the feathers that are used to adorn, draw attention to, and enhance the mana of waka, people, and weapons. This name will help us care for and share the knowledge and mauri held within the art works in a way that upholds their mana. We have created an Art Collection logo to mesh with that of Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery and which features on the Collection pages of our new website.
Our Art Collection database, accessed via the Browse tab in the menu above, provides records for nearly 600 works of art―almost the entire collection. The online catalogue was developed with Vernon Systems and is funded in part with a grant from the Museum Hardship Fund, facilitated through National Services Te Paerangi. This funding saw us hire a collection assistant to help prepare records, obtain copyright, check data, and take new images of works in the Art Collection. Now the Art Collection is more visible and accessible than ever before.
Four of the five new acquisitions to the Art Collection are currently installed in the Victoria Room on the Kelburn Campus. These new works were selected for the University’s 125-year anniversary as milestones signaling the diversity of artists and practices undertaken in Aotearoa New Zealand today. They are: Ana Iti’s new media video work, A dusty handrail on the track (2021); Chris Corson-Scott’s large scale photograph, A Poet Writing before the Falls and Freezing Work, Mataura (2016); Kathy Barry’s watercolour Epic Whirlpool (2012); Gifts from Niue (2022), Hiapo tools (2022), and Whenua paint tools (2022), three works by Cora-Allan Laifiki Twiss in whenua paint and kapia ink on haiapo, and Barbara Tuck’s Ngā Uruora (2022), which is currently on loan to Christchurch Art Gallery as part of the touring exhibition Barbara Tuck: Delirium Crossing.
The event also heralded the launch of a new partnership with Wellington philanthropist and Adam Art Gallery Patron, Chris Parkin. The Parkin New Art Prize will see a work by an emerging artist added to the Art Collection, through a process that will engage the Adam team in canvassing what has been shown recently by new and young artists. We will make a shortlist from which one work will be selected by Chris Parkin, who admits that his passion for philanthropy is driven by his sense of what a difference support at the outset of a career can make.