Pub­lic works

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Visual Arts - Bron­wyn Wat­son

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

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