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Top artists team up to aid whales

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Leading New Zealand artist, Dick Frizzell and legendary poet Sam Hunt have teamed up to create the first in a series of artists’ prints to raise funds for the proposed National Whale Centre in Marlborough.

The brainchild of the Centre’s project director, Luit Bieringa, the first limited edition print designed by Dick Frizzell titled One for the Whales is a collaboration based on Sam Hunt’s poem, The Harpooner’s Song.

The print will be launched on December 12 by The Diversion Gallery in Picton in association with the National Whale Centre Development Trust. Only 45 of the limited edition will be available for individual sale initially with all proceeds going to the Whale Centre project.

The prints will be available from The Diversion Gallery or the National Whale Centre website.

"The Frizzell-Hunt print is appropriate as the first in a portfolio of several prints, because it uses the text of Hunt’s poem about Picton - which refers to Picton in the same breath as the famous American whaling centre of Nantucket," comments Bieringa.

The NWC aims to tell the story of New Zealand’s whaling history in the Marlborough Sounds as well as current whale and dolphin (cetaceans) conservation efforts through information, research and exhibition programmes. The Trust aims to build an interactive space near the Picton foreshore for visitors to learn more about cetaceans and the local area’s whaling history.

Michael Kempson, head of printmaking and director of Cicada Press at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, provided the printing expertise for the Kermadec portfolio and the National Whale Centre project intends to involve him in the intaglio prints for this new series.

Frizzell’s screenprint was produced by Artrite in Auckland who also produce the silk screenprints of other potential contributing artists. Other artists who are keen to be involved in the project include highly collectible artists Robin White, John Walsh, John Pule, Greg O’Brien and Australian artist Fiona Hall. Some additional artists are still to confirm their commitment.

After the release of individual prints over the next 12-14 months, each artist will receive a full set for their own collection, with a portfolio of 8-10 prints being offered to the public.

"We are delighted with the speed and generosity of Dick Frizzell’s offer to start the process and the willingness of the others to come on board," says Bieringa.

He adds the project presents a unique opportunity for followers of these prominent artists to contribute at the same time to an exciting and worthy cause.

"In addition to the generosity of the artists, Barbara Speedy of The Diversion Gallery has offered her expertise and is willing to forgo any dealer income ensuring that all sale proceeds go directly to the NWC, in the same spirit of goodwill that has brought the artists on board."

Artists in New Zealand have long championed environmental causes, and the first significant fundraising effort by the National Whale Centre Trust was the 2012 exhibition ‘Difficult to Swallow’ at The Diversion Gallery, comprising 267 wall sculptures by renowned Christchurch sculptor Graham Bennett. Based on a Japanese whale meat tin, each signed limited edition work represents a whale killed in the Southern Ocean harvest in the 2011/12 season. Proceeds from each sculpture sold go to the NWC

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