The amazing Christchurch Art Gallery is the gallery that could. It’s the gallery that still operates to an amazing level even when its closed.
It is the public gallery that has just managed to raise over $200,000 to bring Michael Parekowhai’s Chapman’s Homer permanently to Christchurch via the Pledge Me Back The Bull campaign.
So why did I, a resident of Dunedin, back the bull?
Well the artwork is awesome. Ok that is trite, I found this work deeply moving. It is so unsubtley strong but attenuated by the delicacy of a concert grand piano, albeit a bronze one. The bull is undoubtedly a strong statement and pianos can be either. In this case the strength to support a bull but also capable of calm and storm (videos feature another Parekowhai Piano). Christchurch seems to have taken this work to its heart.
Why Christchurch? Well they WANT it, in fact the Director of CAG, Jenny Harper, obviously wants it a lot. The letter about my initial donation was hand signed (not a printed sig) and also had a personal note. That’s dedication. I ended up deciding to donate more. The CAG has always seemed to me intent on creating relationships with it’s audience. There is give and take and it has always felt personal and warm and truly invested. I don’t know how they managed this, but that is my relationship with CAG and I don’t even live in Christchurch. I am even a “Friend of the Gallery”….They are doing something very very right. It’s not that others don’t care, but many galleries have a ‘take us or leave us’ attitude, or something horribly one sided. I see change but I admit, my heart belongs to CAG. And, after a loooong time I am finally able and very happy to give back to them. Also I can always visit…
Congratulations to the Christchurch Art Gallery and to Christchurch. And a huge pat on the back to staff but especially Jenny Harper, who wanted this to happen, and made it happen.