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The University of Auckland’s Art Collection comprises more than 1400 paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and video on permanent display throughout all of the four campuses: City, Grafton, Epsom and Tāmaki. It is founded in the belief that an interesting and challenging Art Collection enhances the visual identity of the University and defines the University of Auckland as a place of scholarship and research in the visual arts and culture. This cultural profile strengthens the University's ties to the local community as well as promoting its international identity as a leading centre for cultural activity and discourse. Inaugurated in 1965 with an annual acquisition budget of just £300, the University of Auckland Art Collection has grown into a major asset with a total value of well over NZ$20 million. Demonstrating continuing commitment to the patronage, advancement and study of the visual arts, all of its artworks (including major works by Frances Hodgkins, Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Pat Hanly, Robin White and John Pule) are on constant display around the campuses, and digitally available at The first works of the University of Auckland Art Collection were acquired in 1966, and consisted of three works on paper by one of New Zealand’s most respected modern artists, Colin McCahon. At the time McCahon was teaching at the Elam school of Fine Art, where many of the artists in the collection have trained and taught. Nowadays, the Auckland University Art Collection is one of the biggest and most prestigious art collections in New Zealand and features New Zealand’s leading art practitioners as well as mid-career artists and emerging talents. The artists in the collection represent many different cultural traditions in contemporary New Zealand society; including Pakeha (European), Maori, Pacific Island and more recently Asian. The university does not have a policy of collecting traditional ethnographic artefacts but includes modern and contemporary artists who bring non-Western art practices and traditional knowledge to the discourse of contemporary art. The collection also features works that are critical of post-colonial and neo-liberal society and therefore contribute to ongoing debate and questioning of New Zealand identity and intercultural issues. The collection functions as a tool for research and education as much as it provides a stimulating visual display and enriched work environment. Offices, corridors and meeting rooms display ceramic and glass works, paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography and many forms of printmaking; including screen printing, etching and woodcuts. Although there are also a number of site specific works, the collection is dynamic – works are constantly migrating around the different campuses in Auckland, as well as further afield. Collection pieces are often loaned to institutions throughout Australasia for exhibitions. Monthly articles on key works in the University journal UniNews, guided tours for both staff and the public, and regular exhibitions of works in the historical Old Government House all contribute to an active policy of communicating the collection to as large an audience as possible. --- Image: Paul Hartigan - Colony 237 University of Auckland (New Zealand) Go to the website
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