29 Aug Museum Awards Honour for Sarjeant Gallery
A unique art memorial to the thousands of horses that died in WWI has won overall honours for Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui in the regional art section of the 2016 New Zealand Museum Awards.
It is the first time that the Sarjeant Gallery has entered the awards which were announced at a ceremony in Auckland last night (Wednesday, May 18) during the Museums Australasia Joint Conference 2016.
The Horses Stayed Behind by Cat Auburn, a former Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence at the Sarjeant Gallery, is a horizontal work featuring 487 horse hair rosettes arranged across five metres of stretched linen. The design was inspired by Victorian hair wreaths which women made from human hair to tell the history of a family or community.
Assistant curator Sarah McClintock accepted the regional art award on behalf of the gallery at the ceremony. McClintock worked closely with the artist on the two-year project – travelling with her to A&P shows around the country to collect horse hair for the rosettes and writing text. She also curated the work when it was first exhibited at the gallery in 2015. McClintock – who finishes at the Sarjeant Gallery this week to take up a position as curator at the Suter Gallery in Nelson – says winning the award was the best leaving present she could have imagined. She says working with Auburn during the two years it took to create The Horses Stayed Behind and then being trusted to put the exhibition together when the artist was overseas meant she felt “incredibly close” to the work. “To be selected as a finalist the first time the gallery entered the awards is amazing.
“I think it’s great that curating at the Sarjeant is being recognised at an important national level.”
She says a planned $34 million re-development on the site of the original Sarjeant Gallery will enable it to do even greater things. “I believe the gallery could do a good many shows per year that would be deserving of the sort of accolade that The Horses Stayed Behind has received.”
Senior Curator Greg Anderson and Sarjeant Gallery Trust Chair Nicola Williams are thrilled by the win and are very proud of the Gallery’s achievement in such a professional environment.