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Exciting year ahead

At MTG Hawke’s Bay we’re looking forward to an exciting year in 2020 with a number of key projects in the pipeline. The team are working on an exhibition about freezing works in Hawke’s Bay. This exhibition will look at the social and economic importance of the freezing works and the huge impact when the Whakatu and Tomoana freezing works closed. This is a story I’ve wanted to do since I started at MTG and it’s great to know that this year it will finally be achieved, with the exhibition opening late November.

We’re really excited to have a big artist show coming up this year, with a Billy Apple exhibition planned for October. Apple is a New Zealander and artist who started his career in the 1960s as a pop artist in London with Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

His story began in 1962 when he dramatically ‘disappeared’ himself and re-emerged with a new name, ‘Billy Apple’. This new identity became the centre of his art practice for the next sixty years and saw Apple continually experiment in the boundary between art and life.

In recent years, Apple has made some fascinating futuristic collaborations with scientists, such as his project The Immortalisation of Billy Apple®. In this artwork, Apple’s cells were scientifically transformed to regenerate – multiplying in perpetuity. Quite literally the project ‘immortalises' Apple.

In 2001 Apple collaborated with HortResearch, Hawkes Bay in the development of a new apple cultivar. The cultivar was named the ‘Billy Apple’ and while it was reportedly ‘quite delicious’, it didn’t store well and was therefore not commercially viable. MTG’s exhibition project focuses on this science and art collaboration and its significance as an artwork.

Earlier in the year, we’ll have a group of animal objects from the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection on display in the Century Theatre foyer illustrating the Māori alphabet. These objects will replace Play Hawke’s Bay: sounds of our place currently on show.

We’re also bringing out some extraordinary art works from the collection that show the way art plays an important role in moments of political turmoil. Wonderful artists such as French national Jean François Millet and New Zealanders Ralph Hotere and Claudia Pond Eyley will frame some interesting times in the country’s political past and present. 

This year we’ll get our Strategic Plan completed – there’ll be more on that in future columns, along with ways you can contribute to our forward thinking. Part of this plan will include developing some strategic partnerships and relationships with key academic and cultural institutions/groups in the community. 

Following the Christchurch mosque shootings, we’ve been working on an idea to improve understanding about different cultures and groups within our community. A public programme titled Know Your Neighbour will provide the opportunity for communities to share information about themselves and aspects of their culture. This is likely to involve a mix of fun and more serious activities or discussions – watch out for Know Your Neighbour later in the year!

7 January 2020

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