A welcome addition to the to-do list
In 2009, Christchurch painter Philip Trusttum made us an extraordinary offer—a gift of twenty works, to be selected by the Gallery, with no limit imposed on scale or value.
Philip Trusttum Waimate Flag 1987. Acrylic on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, presented by the artist 2009
He proposed that ten works be chosen at the time of the gift and a further ten selected in five years. It was a remarkable opportunity—although the Gallery already had a good range of Trusttum's works in the collection, inevitably, with a senior artist of such prodigious energy, it has not been remotely possible to acquire representative works from every period.
The choice of the first ten paintings placed a deliberate emphasis on Trusttum's recent work, but also sought to represent lesser-known aspects of his practice, such as the interest in the idea of 'women's work' and craft explored in the book-like Martin's Sewing Kit. The epic scale of several works (such as the sixteen metre-long Depot), which makes them challenging to exhibit in domestic, or even many public, settings, presents a mouth-watering prospect for the expansive spaces of our collection galleries. All in all, this incredibly generous gift will more than double our holdings of Trusttum's work—and, of course, it has also placed a very welcome item on the Acquisition Committee's 'to-do' list for 2014.