What do you do?
I help ex- Dilworth students when they are at University, through an organisation called the Staples Education Foundation. My main role is finding work experience for them. The students are delightful and very easy to help – it is fun and rewarding work.
If you could have any piece of art what would it be?
That’s easy: Michael Parekowhai’s Kapa Haka (Pakaka) – a life-sized figure based on the artist’s brother, a security guard. I first saw one at Art + Object about 13 years ago and he was placed behind the auctioneer’s table. I thought he WAS the auctioneer for quite some time. I have seen the work a few times subsequently and it always gives me goose bumps.
Which work do you keep returning to in your collection?
This is much harder. There are a number of contenders but Tony Fomison’s Saint Paul as a Woodcarving is the most challenging piece to live with. His eyes follow me around demanding to be looked at and understood. I’m not quite there yet!
I am experiencing a love of texture at the moment so the layers in Imogen Taylor’s Still Life with Durrie also draw me in, in a much more frivolous way. The modern homeliness of my Vita Cochrane sampler provides much comfort. My most recent purchase Hayakawa Garden III, a ceramic work by Peter Hawkesby is organic, playful and grounding in a “don’t take life too seriously” kind of way.
Art is the essence of our home.
What is art for?
Lois Perry, our treasured Art Today teacher, said last week during class: “There is a lot of LIFE in art”. Simple words which hold a lot of truth.
Art can be more profound than you think.
For my daughters’ and I, art has given us a life-changing gift. My husband, Neil, coveted a work by Star Gossage that Tim Melville had in his gallery briefly before sending to an exhibition in Australia in 2017. Tim wouldn’t let Neil buy it as it was already destined for Melbourne– he wouldn’t even let him photograph it! Not one to take no for an answer, Neil bought the work some weeks later directly from the dealer in Melbourne. It was unusual for Neil to buy a work without showing me but I was happy for him – he was captivated by it – in fact quite obsessed!
Several months later Neil died unexpectedly and I texted Tim on the day we lost him saying: “we would love you to come with Neil’s painting”, which had just arrived back in NZ. A strange request on such a terrible day, but Tim brought the painting to us and when we unwrapped it we both realised, for the first time, that the title of the work was You Come and You Go. Art can be amazing.
Upon hearing the story Star sent us a beautiful card – which she had painted with even more beautiful words inside. She finished by saying “I thank Neil too for recognising that something special and sacred speaks through art.”
It seems that art can help us make sense of life.