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The Pink Noise Art Appeal...from a Foreign Correspondent

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

On 22nd February, 2011, Christchurch, New Zealand, suffered an earthquake that measured 6.3 on the Richter Scale. Here in the UK, there was shock as well as sadness at the news – New Zealand is part of the Western World! Natural disasters in New Zealand don’t mean death and homelessness, do they? Not when the houses are built properly, the government isn’t corrupt, anyway, they have “machines” that can predict earthquakes, they’ll be fine.... No. This natural disaster claimed 159 lives and left over two thousand people homeless. Those who still have homes have limited or no power, limited or no water.

But from New Zealand’s Darkest Day emerges a phenomenal sharing, community-driven spirit that has moved me infinitely. I learnt a word this week, not a new one to most of you but new to me: whanau – the extended family, the word used over and over again to describe the people of Christchurch, brothers and sisters in need. Facebook’s pages are full of practical information, strangers sharing news about vital forthcoming power and water connections as well as supportive good wishes. Blogs, writing websites, all kinds of websites have stories of donations of blankets, clothes, toys, kitchen utensils, things that we all need, to those who have lost everything. The people of New Zealand are giving and giving. You lot on the other side of the world, down in the Southern Hemisphere on the two little islands, yes, you – you’ve put the rest of the world to shame.

 The Pink Noise Art Appeal is a wonderful example of this sharing spirit. Pink Noise is New Zealand’s no.1 non-profit artist’s community and the Pink Noise artists have very nobly donated their own artwork for auction with 100% of the profits going to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. A Pink Noise member, Alana Moffat from Dunedin, came up with the idea. She said, “Pink Noise should organise a mass art auction...I feel so helpless sitting here in Dunedin and not being able to help.” Katie Robinson, helmswoman of Pink Noise, immediately seized the idea and rallied the members, most of whom felt just like Alana. Donations of artwork poured in and Trade Me had the auction up and running within thirty six hours of the earthquake and even agreed to generously waive the success fees. Today, eight days on from the earthquake, the first wave of artwork donations have been sold and the running fundraising total stands at over NZ$8500. The auction is currently only open to those with New Zealand bank accounts but that hasn’t stopped dedicated people in Europe moving heaven and earth to bid via New Zealand friends.

The quality and variety of the work is incredible. Lorna Allan’s breathtaking landscape, the first item to be donated, has now sold for more than $550. While this is just under half its gallery value, Lorna is thrilled to have passed it on for such an excellent cause and has already donated another print.

A far cry from landscapes is an adorable little sculpture called Deano. He’s a tiny green dinosaur from the kiln of Pauline Johns in Wellington and you have until 11th March to get a little corner all ready for him in your home! Altogether now: “Awww....”

Bold and beautiful portraits from Auckland artist Emmaline Bailey have raised three-figure sums for the earthquake appeal. Bonnie Coad from Renwick has generously donated her colourful, sometimes experimental, but always inspiring art - two are still available to bid for! Alana Moffat has, of course, put her art where her mouth is and her thought-provoking paintings and gorgeous owl brooches are all there on Trade Me, waiting to be turned into material help for the people of Christchurch.

The biggest fundraiser looks like it’s going to be bro’Town’s contribution: Ant Sang, bro’Town’s designer, will create a customised drawing of you as a bro’Town cartoon and all the cast will sign it! The latest bid stands at $1,210 - the icing on the cake for the charity auction that has brought together the whole spectrum of New Zealand’s artists.

Those interested in bidding for the artworks have until 17th March and can bid through Pink Noise’s Trade Me page: All you need is a New Zealand bank account (or a friend with one!).

Please visit the auction page. Please bid for the artwork donated by New Zealanders, for New Zealanders and be part of the phenomenon that is the Pink Noise Art Appeal.

Charlotte Buchanan

Woking, UK

5th March 2011

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