100 years of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui
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100 years of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui

100 years of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui

Press Release
For immediate release: 15 August 2019

The community gathers together and a major new show, Turn of a Century opens.The Sarjeant Gallery will be celebrating its birthday on September 6 which marks exactly 100 years since the Gallery first opened its doors.

To celebrate the 100th year there will be a public ceremony on Friday 6 September, 2019 at 3pm to which everyone is invited. It will be held on the steps of the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queen’s Park and will include speeches from the Sarjeant Gallery Director Greg Anderson, the Mayor of Whanganui Hamish McDouall and a guest speaker, with choir performances from the Schola Sacra Choir and the Wanganui Community Choir.

The Schola Sacra Choir has been in existence since 1974, and is now led by Iain Tetley. The choir will sing a setting of a poem by Whanganui’s James K Baxter, called ‘Haere Rā’ which has been set to music by New Zealand composer William Green especially for the choir to perform on this occasion. The Wanganui Community Choir, led by Lynn Whiteside, will sing ‘Wairua o te Puna Aroha’, which is written by Hori Tait and arranged by Julian Raphael of Wellington.

A special birthday cake designed by Stacey Williams of Stacey’s Cakes will be shared with attendees on the day and the cake will be cut by the three professional directors of the Sarjeant Gallery – Gordon Brown (1974 – 1977), Bill Milbank (1978 – 2006) and Greg Anderson (from 2007).

Greg Anderson says, “The whole community is invited to join us on the steps of the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queen’s Park to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gallery. It is a momentous occasion and as such we would like to properly recognise it.”

On Saturday 7 September the Gallery will open a major new exhibition at Sarjeant on the Quay called Turn of a Century: New Perspectives on 100 Years of Collecting and Exhibiting. Curated by the Sarjeant’s Curator and Public Programmes Manager Greg Donson, the exhibition showcases some of New Zealand’s best contemporary artists such as Adrienne Martyn, Regan Gentry, Roberta Thornley, Neil Pardington, Andrew Ross, Glen Hayward, Annie Mackenzie and Peter Trevelyan. The artists were invited to respond to the one-hundred-year-old category 1 heritage listed building.
Greg Donson says, “Viewers may well recognise elements of the heritage building in the exhibition but see it in a completely new way. Each member of this group has a connection to the Gallery in some way – and therefore will have a distinct and very personal response to it.” To complement these newly commissioned contemporary works Turn of a Century will also include works from the Sarjeant collection.

“One of the things we really wanted to do with this exhibition was to celebrate the Sarjeant’s history of collecting and exhibiting. While Henry Sarjeant’s bequest built the Sarjeant itself, it was his widow Ellen Neame who purchased many of the early works for the collection while she lived and travelled in Europe in the early part of the 20th century, so yes, Ellen Neame’s portrait will be in the show,” said Donson.

Also on Saturday 7 September there will be many things to do and see around the markets and Sarjeant on the Quay as the Sarjeant celebrates its big birthday. The River City Big Band will be at the River Traders Market from 10.30am to 11.30am and Mayor Hamish McDouall will give a speech at 11.00am. Greg Donson will lead a free talk with the artists featured in Turn of a Century, and there will be free family day activities at Sarjeant on the Quay with artist demonstrations, kids’ activities, musical performances, a time capsule and a photo booth. On the evening of Saturday 7 September there will be the Sarjeant’s 100th Birthday Concert at the Whanganui Musicians’ Club, formerly the Savage Club. Kicking off at 7.30pm the concert will feature the Wanganui Ukulele Orchestra and the skiffle band Hot Potato. Tickets can be purchased at Sarjeant on the Quay.

For any further information please contact Sarjeant Gallery Relationships Office  Jaki.Arthur@sarjeant.org.nz or 027 577 4923

For any further information or to arrange an interview or pix please contact Sarjeant Gallery Relationships Officer Jaki Arthur on jaki.arthur@sarjeant.org.nz or 027 577 4923.