Recent Gifts

8 February 2014 - 30 March 2014


  1. Having exceptional talent or natural ability (adjective)
  2. Give (something) as a gift, especially formally or as a donation or bequest (verb)

Oxford Dictionary

While the adage that ‘it is better to give than it is to receive’ is very apt, when you work in an art gallery the benefit of being the recipient often as thoughyou are on the better side of the ledger.  Of course if you take this notion one step further an exhibition that celebrates the act of giving, through showcasing a series of 'exceptional' deposits into the Gallery's holdings, hopefully addresses and balances out some of this philanthropic equation. Gifted takes a snapshot of the last few decades of patronage to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, to provide a sense of the wondrous moments and significant gestures that have been made by artists, individual supporters, major collectors and government organisations. 

While there is no single reason why people bequeath their precious artworks to a public art gallery, it is based around significant longstanding interpersonal relationships between the owner/maker and team at that organisation.  These situations are often complex, selfless, ongoing, and rely on serious amounts of goodwill.  At its core this benevolence also signals a deeper set of values, over art’sbeneficial value and the importance of its accessibility. 

So, Gifted focuses on a particular area of the Gallery’s permanent collection which continues to grow and develop.  It is about revealing a selection of recent additions, as examples of this process and providing an insight into how the works arrived in our care. By its very nature this is an eclectic display; in a sense form follows function and aesthetic decisions result from a tight set of selection parameters.  At its heart Gifted is about the act of giving itself, while simultaneously celebrating a selection of the gifted artists within the collection.  It is an opportunity to delight in simple instances of altruism.

View the exhibition labels – click here

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