Marea Gazzard, Selini 1 (2009). Collection Art Gallery of South Australia. Gift of James and Jacqui Erskine through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2016. Donated through the Australian government’s Cultural Gifts Program. On display, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Art collector and businessman James Erskine so admired Marea Gazzard that he bought five different versions of her bronze sculptural series Selini, her last major work to be cast before she died in 2013.
One edition of Selini is in Erskine’s back garden, overlooking the water where he lives in Sydney’s Vaucluse. Another is in his villa in Positano, Italy. And the other three he donated to public galleries to fulfil a promise he made to Gazzard before her death.
“There are things I live with day in, day out that are special to me,” Erskine says at his Sydney office. “They are special not necessarily because they are valuable but special because I have known the people that have done them, and have liked the people that have done them. There is a story behind most of the things I own.”
Besides having a passionate interest in art, Erskine is also the chairman and chief executive of sports and entertainment marketing company SEL, and has represented clients such as Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Shane Warne.
Erskine says he has always been a fan of Gazzard. “I am really into ceramics and I have been buying them for years, and when I saw her work, the first works were sculptures in clay,” he says. He was also impressed with Gazzard’s major public commission, the bronze Mingarri: The Little Olgas, in the forecourt of Parliament House, Canberra.
But Erskine has a special attachment to Selini, which means “moon” in Greek. He donated Selini 1 to Adelaide’s Art Gallery of South Australia because of his fondness for the gallery.
“I think there is a serenity to this particular work,” he says. “I think anything to do with the moon, sun, stars, there is always a serenity about it. And I think if someone looks at it at the Art Gallery of South Australia, and it
Bronze, 100cm x 97cm x 63cm