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Enjoy art from your armchair with MTG Hawke’s Bay

Published: 15 April 2020

Viewing Platform Big Swell Jul 2016 15

Museum lovers can visit MTG Hawke’s Bay without leaving home, now that MTG Hawke's Bay has more than 29,000 items available in the museum’s online gallery.

During lockdown the museum's Collections team has been working hard to upload more information and imagery of significant artworks – all accessible from

“We’re taking the opportunity to catalogue more items to our online collection. In particular, we are working on our fine arts collection, which has around 700 items now,” says Sara Perrett, MTG Collections Coordinator.

“I encourage people to take a look during the lockdown. It’s exciting that the museum is now able to share so many of our wonderful artworks online. The collection’s strengths include early New Zealand modernism 1925 to 1950 with artists like Roland Hipkins, Christopher Perkins, R. N. Field and A Lois White. The other strength is New Zealand art 1970 to 1990. Take a look at the works by artists like Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont, Richard McWhannell, Terry Stringer and the large collection of works by Dick Frizzell.

MTG Hawke’s Bay has an extensive and high quality range of artwork and exhibitions.

“It’s really fantastic to be able to access and present art works of this quality in museum exhibitions,” says MTG Hawke’s Bay Art Curator Toni MacKinnon.

“Many New Zealand artists will be included in upcoming exhibitions. On Art and Activism, planned to open later this year, will showcase artworks that are all about political causes. You’ll be able to see artists such as Ralph Hotere and Don Binny’s work alongside other artists from the collection, ‘speaking out for’ the environment, land rights and feminist issues.”

There is much for museum and art enthusiasts to look forward to at MTG Hawke’s Bay, including an exhibition featuring iconic works from New Zealand artist Billy Apple later this year and more planned for 2021.

“Next year we will see artworks that are made in response to the natural world. This exhibition will draw on art and design from a wide range of historical periods and countries. Looking at the collection through the themes of nature and culture is a great opportunity to exhibit art and objects from a wide range of cultures. International breadth is another exciting strength of the collection which I will take particular pleasure in presenting to visitors,” says Toni.

As well as cataloguing its collections online, MTG's team continues to work on many other future exhibitions and programmes during the lockdown:

The museum’s Friends of MTG and the wider community have been asked to write about their lockdown experiences to share with future generations. The museum will be acquiring a selection of journals and diaries as part of its social history archival collection. The museum’s education team is developing virtual education programmes and resources for teachers, along with fun activities for families such as online scavenger hunts. Museum staff are also working on computer generated exhibition design concepts to develop future exhibitions.

While only online exploring is possible during the lockdown, the museum’s monthly Behind the Scenes tours, where participants can find out more about the museum’s collections, will resume once the museum is able to open again and offer group tours.

“Once life gets back to a more normal state, there will be many wonderful reasons to return to the museum,” says Toni.

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