Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force
29 November 2013
Kermadecs on Show at Navy Museum
Artist Robin White with Her Artwork Influenced by Her Trip to the Kermadecs in 2011
Around 200 people gathered at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Auckland last night for the launch of a four month art exhibition.
“Hands to Bathe – Imagining a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary” is the result of a special voyage in May 2011 when nine influential artists from around Australasia embarked on HMNZS OTAGO and set sail for the pristine waters of the Kermadec Islands.
Among them was renowned Australian artist Fiona Hall who was this week announced as Australia’s representative for the 2015 Venice Biennale – considered the most important and prestigious international contemporary arts event in the world.
But last night, fresh from media engagements throughout Australia, Ms Hall was rubbing shoulders with Navy leaders including Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, and recalling the time she first heard of the Kermadec voyage.
“I think the Navy probably thought of [artists] as martians,” she said. “But here we are at the Navy Museum with our show – who would have thought..”
Ms Hall was joined by six other prominent artists from the Kermadec trip at last night’s opening, where Rear Admiral Steer said that while the art world and military were two very different groups – they both had a common goal.
“Like [artists] we too have a responsibility to protect what’s in the ocean,” he said.
“A number of our people are from the South Pacific so for us the Kermadec region is like our home and we were only too pleased to assist with this project.”
The Pew Charitable Trust invited the artists on the Kermadec voyage to experience and document an expanse of ocean that many scientists, conservationists and cultural and business leaders believe should be protected as a global ocean legacy.
The exhibition of around 30 works will remain at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum until March next year.