Samples : Recent Acquisitions
Human beings are driven to collect. From grand collections of priceless art treasures, rare books and manuscripts to humble collections of everyday objects like toys or photographs of celebrities, the act of collecting is central to our culture. As individuals, collecting plays an important role in our personal identities. A collection of objects is a powerful thing, telling others who we think we are and who we would like to be. Collecting is a serious game.
But it isn’t just individuals who collect. Institutions like the Tairâwhiti Museum are also collectors, putting together large groups of objects that tell stories about who we are, where we’ve come from, where we are going. The Tairawhiti Museum collection is bigger than any one of us, and the identities that are formed from its collections are many and open-ended.
With over 100,000 items, the Tairâwhiti Museum collection is a repository or archive of many different collections, groups of objects (such as fine art, ceramics, domestic objects, textiles, photographs, maps, etc) that have come together in a variety of ways. Unlike an individual’s collection, the Tairâwhiti Museum collection is not the work of a single person. It does not reflect anyone’s personal taste, values or desires. But it is formed from objects that are collected in exactly this way, and while the overall collection doesn’t have a particular identity, parts of it definitely do. Within the museum collections, traces of individuals remain, objects standing in for their obsessions, passions and visions – about themselves, and the place in which they live.
Opening on the 5th June 2009 the exhibition Samples: Recent Acquisitions provides a special glimpse into how the Tairâwhiti Museum collection comes into being. As these four artworks from Samples demonstrate, objects are donated, purchased and loaned to the museum. Each of them carries a trace of its owner’s interests and desires (why they collected the object in the first place) into the larger collection that represents all of us.
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Ans Westra Parakino Pa, Wanganui River Jan Nigro Procession of the Saints