Treasured loans, gifts on show at Aratoi
What do beer bottles, baby clothes, and a microscope have in common? All of the items, along with about 30 more, will be displayed in ‘Gifted’, an exhibition of recent acquisitions to the Aratoi Collection.
Gift-giving is an integral part of museum and Ma¯ori culture. Most acquisitions are donations from members of local iwi and the public, the Friends of Aratoi, or by the artists themselves.
With a tiny acquisitions budget, Aratoi relies heavily on this generosity, whether monet- ary or in terms of gifts and bequests. ‘Gifted’ is an enjoyable example.
You’ll see a mere pounamu, a Chinese shawl, a 5lb (2.27kg) honey tin from one of the largest apiaries in the southern hemisphere, a rare ceramic ginger beer bottle, embroidery, a linen cloth from Tenerife, a carved seat, and WWI memorabilia. Note that the donated microscope was used in the brewing process, and the beer bottles (from around 1940) contain their original contents.
Since 2012, Aratoi has acquired over 130 items for the collection, and since 2005, has cared for most of the 145 works of the Rutherford Trust Collection, a rich body of modern and contemporary art from leading New Zealand artists such as Rita Angus, Frances Hodgkins, Neil Dawson, Colin McCahon, Anne Noble, Kura Te Waru Rewiri and Gordon Walters. Aratoi has exhibited the masterpieces in about 20 shows here in Masterton, and loaned the work to many museums nationwide.
Now, after 12 years, the Rutherford Collection is departing to the Wallace Arts Trust, to which the collection has been given.
‘‘While it is sad to see the Rutherford Trust Collection go,’’ said Bronwyn Reid, Aratoi Museum’s collections manager since 2004. ‘‘It is also an opportunity for Aratoi to encourage and grow a collection that is nationally significant and also reflects the Wairarapa.’’
Gifted, for instance, showcases exquisite work by noted artists, many of whom have connections to the Wairarapa: Bridget Bidwill, Israel Birch, James Bragge, Annabelle Buick, Tina Rae Carter, Crystal Chain Gang, Rebekah Farr, Kirsty Gardiner, Gina Jones, Marian Maguire, John Mansbridge, Paul Martinson, Graham Percy, Nik Player, Anne Taylor, Jake Walker and Harry Watson.
Gina Jones’s Untitled