CURATE ME – group exhibition – 28 Sept-15 Oct 2021


Curate Me
A Response to the Ara Artwork Collection

Artists and academics have drawn inspiration from museum and art collections for centuries. Here, Curate Me brings together works from the Ara Artwork Collection and the responses inspired by them in a dynamic manner. Participants: postgraduate students, staff, and alumni, from across a range of disciplines at Ara were invited to respond in a creative manner to an artwork of their selection from a shortlist of 50 works from The Collection. Exhibiting the works alongside each other provides an insight into the inspiration that the participants took from The Collection works. Augmenting the works on show is an app, Actionbound. Simply download The App and scan the QR code on the labels to learn more about the artworks and exhibitors; both viewers and exhibitors may leave messages via text, audio, and image for each other. The app offers an active, and alternative viewing of the exhibition within the familiar cultural narratives of the exhibition space. Arts writer, editor, and commentator Warren Feeney elicits deliberation about the potential of the
artist’s model as an open-ended means of investigation, creative enquiry, and outcomes, with his contribution The Artist’s Model: Astonishing and Comprehensible Realities.

The Ara Artwork Collection
Ara is fortunate to own one of the earliest established Artwork Collections held by a tertiary institution in New Zealand. The Memorial Hall Collection was established in 1935 by McGregor Wright (chairperson of the board of governors and a practicing member of The Canterbury Art Society), with the gift of 61 artworks by contemporary Canterbury artists. The intention of having a collection was for the artworks to broaden student’s education and contribute to the culture of the institution. Amongst the artists that gifted the original works were Rita Angus, Grace Butler, Alfred Cook, Cecil Fletcher Kelly, Rata & Colin Lovell-Smith, Archibald Nicoll, Evelyn Polson, Francis Shurrock, Margaret Stoddart and Cora Wilding. This notable collection of artworks of cultural and heritage significance has grown over the past 86 years to include almost 700 works including toi Māori and Pou. The Ara Artwork Collection is spread across six campuses, and is made up of sculptures, stained glass, prints, paintings, photographs, drawings, carving and weaving which highlight contemporary and customary art in Aotearoa. The Collection has acquired works by significant New Zealand artists including Shane Cotton, Bing Dawe, Neil Dawson, Fred Graham, Pat Hanly, Ralph Hotere, Lonnie Hutchinson, Fiona Pardington, Gordon Walters, Robin White, Cliff Whiting, as well as its continued focus on Canterbury artists. Individual works from The Collection have been reproduced in books and journals in addition to being loaned for exhibition to art galleries and
museums throughout the country. The Collection is an invaluable resource for teaching, learning and research and continues to enrich the lives of those at Ara campuses.


Sincere thanks go to the generous support of Marian Maguire, Nigel Buxton, and Polly Gilroy of PG gallery 192 and The Ara Foundation, who believed in the project and for helping bring Curate Me to the Canterbury Community. Thanks to those who created works for the exhibition. Thanks also go to Warren Feeney for his support, and to Ella Bergkessel, Alice Rose, Kayla Gifkins and others who worked behind the scenes with apps, photography and design that make this show complete.

Julie Humby and Alan Hoskin

List of artists
Response Artists
Amy Couling, Ben Reid, Dave Maloney, Debra McLeod, Dennis Taylor, Dorle Pauli, Folina Vili, Georgie Yates, Hazel Barrer, Hemi Hoskins, Holly Liberona, Jane McGowan, Jane Schollum, Jeanette Mui, Joe Clarke, John Hill, John Maillard, Kathryn McCully, Magdalene Clare, Olivia Baker, Rebecca Smallridge, Rhi Davey, Stefan Roberts.
Collection Artists
Andrew Dunn, Cora Wilding, Eileen Mayo, Francis Shurrock, Gordon Walters, Gretchen Albrecht, Jason Greig, Lilly Maetzig, Margaret Stoddart, Natalie Robertson, Nigel Brown, Paul Kennedy, Peter Ransom, Philip Trusttum, Ralph Hotere, Sam Harrison, Shane Cotton, Simon Edwards, Wayne Youle