I briefed some of the many pianists who put their names forward to play Michael Parekowhai's wonderful red piano on 27 June just before On first looking into Chapman's Homer opened here in Christchurch.
We talked about Venice, the Biennale of Art, New Zealand's history of being there, the impact it has made on our reputation – and the importance of keeping going. We talked abut Parekowhai and his great ability to make a work and step out of the limelight, inviting others (players and audience) to complete it. It was marvellous seeing their eyes widen at the news that their performance would become quite literally part of this work of art.
Two of the women who attended that evening played the piano together last week. And here they are: Lynley and Beryl, dressed for the occasion.
There are fewer degrees of separation than you imagine in many parts of life. So I was delighted when Lynley told me that evening she was a descendant of the sitter in a portrait in our collection by Elizabeth Kelly, Toi Toi Hinetauhara (Rima Faith Fraer) (c.1934). She has now passed on further detail about Fraer (formerly Taiaroa and later, Thorne George) and said that Sydney Lough Thompson painted Rima around 1934 as well. It's so good when one thing leads to another and we get richer information about our collection and can update our files.