ARTISTS Wayne Barrar, Charles Decimus Barraud, Shane Cotton, Paratene Matchitt, Anne Noble, Toss Woollaston
Wellington City Council has a collection of 340 artworks, which are displayed in its meeting rooms and offices, in its reception area, the Library, Town Hall, and Michael Fowler Centre. The collection focuses on art and artists with a significant connection to Wellington. It began in the late 1800s, and has substantial heritage holdings, with art relating to key historical figures, events, and the development of the city. The Council began collecting contemporary art in the 1960s. The collection has grown through purchase, donation, and bequest. Since 2002, when a dedicated acquisition fund was established, the collection has centred on emerging and mid-career artists. This aligns with the Council’s public-art objective: to enrich the city’s sense of culture and place by fostering its artistic practice.
A generous gift prompts the We Are Here, and There show. Wellington businessman Russell Hancock bequeathed his art collection to the city, along with funding to develop a public exhibition space. City Gallery Wellington’s 2009 refurbishment provided the opportunity for his vision to be realised. We Are Here, and There is the first show that draws on the Council collection in the new Russell Hancock Gallery. Starting in Wellington’s Ngauranga Gorge and winding its way to an Antarctic Research Centre in Scotland, it charts a series of artistic responses towards the landscape, tapping into issues of conservation, land use, and land rights.