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Lincoln University's art collection now available for viewing online

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Featuring artworks by Llew Summers, Bill Hammond, Doris Luck, Toss Woollaston, Bill Sutton and many other renowned New Zealand artists, Lincoln University’s art collection is now accessible through Living Heritage Tikaka Tōku Iho - the University’s online cultural and heritage resource.

Consisting of over 280 paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics, the artworks were collected from the early 1970s through to 2010, when art funding was frozen following the Canterbury earthquakes. The oldest work dates back to 1639, but the collection is particularly strong in New Zealand artists from the 1980s and 1990s - including:

- Joanna Braithwaite’s controversial NZ Still Life No 3 (1990) depicts a severed sheep’s head and generated several complaints, most notably from the New Zealand Society of Animal Production Conference held at the University in 1992

- Pete Wheeler’s oil on jute painting Ivory Tower (1990) strikes a particular chord in a university setting, and is used by Lincoln lecturers to challenge students to think about how universities and graduates are perceived in the ‘outside’ world

As well as art for halls, foyers and lecture theatres, sculptures by Chris Booth, Llew Summers, Neil Dawson and others were commissioned for the University grounds:

- Llew Summers’ Joy of Living (1992), the first outdoor sculpture purchased, provides a popular photo opportunity for students seeking an appropriate image to celebrate their graduation from the University

- Graham Bennett’s 2012 work Oversight was created during his time as Sculptor-in-Residence

By 2018, with a total value close to $1.5 million and after being on continual display for many years, the collection had reached a point where considerable conservation work was needed. With $200,000 funding provided by the Lottery Environment and Heritage fund, the University was able to undertake an intensive conservation programme which included the appointment of Fiona Simpson as Art Curator.

Simpson says the conservation work has involved cleaning, repairing damage and reframing artworks. The collection has been photographed in a joint project with student photographer Bridie Mckenna from Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Now the University is encouraging local schools and community groups to come and visit the collection on guided tours or independently.

"As an educational institution promoting critical thinking, Lincoln wants people to reflect, engage with and be challenged by the artworks in our collection. It’s a resource to be experienced and enjoyed not just by the University, but by the entire community.

"The conservation programme has allowed us to display our iconic New Zealand collection for physical viewing as well as a global virtual audience," says Simpson.

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