Significant contemporary Aboriginal art collection to be gifted to Art Gallery of NSW

Art Announcement from Australia. Published by Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday 11 November 2016.

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Significant contemporary Aboriginal art collection to be gifted to Art Gallery of NSW. Over 220 pieces of Aboriginal art from the collection of Dame Rosie and Michael Horton

The Art Gallery of New South Wales today announced that New Zealand philanthropists Dame Rosie and Michael Horton will gift their significant private collection of contemporary Aboriginal art to the Gallery. The collection comprises over 220 pieces of Aboriginal art, weaving and objects from a number of Aboriginal communities across Australia and will continue to grow.

A shared passion, the collection has been created by Dame Rosie and Michael Horton over a sixteen year period. The collection is intertwined with the Horton’s life at their Australian home where they spend a number of months of each year.

The collection comprises the work of many women artists including Joan Stokes, Nora Wompi, Dolly Snell and works by each one of the five Joshua Sisters including Angelina George.

Michael Brand, director, Art Gallery of New South Wales said the Horton collection includes significant Aboriginal artists, collected in depth, and that the Horton’s contemporary collection will complement the Gallery’s existing collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

“The Gallery is very grateful for the generous gift of this important collection by Michael and Dame Rosie Horton.

“The collection reflects the Horton’s direct engagement with artists in their communities over many years and I greatly admire the way Michael and Dame Rosie shared a love of the art and a deep admiration for the artists they collected,” Brand said.

Cara Pinchbeck, AGNSW curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art said the development of the Horton collection is inspired.

“The dedicated creation of this collection is evident in the attention to detail and the way the Horton’s have displayed and cared for the collection. It’s also evident in the meticulous cataloguing of the collection, undertaken by Michael Horton,” Pinchbeck said.
Dame Rosie Horton said she and Michael wanted the collection to remain in Australia where it belonged and could be enjoyed by Australian and overseas visitors to the Art Gallery of NSW.

“We hope visitors viewing the collection at the Art Gallery of NSW will include direct descendants of the artists, the artists themselves and future generations from those communities represented in the collection,” Dame Rosie said.

“The creation of this collection has been a passion of ours for a long time. We’ve received so much pleasure spending time with the artists and collecting their works and we know the Gallery will cherish the collection managing and promoting the collection to enthral and educate,” Dame Rosie said.

Michael Horton said the couple’s focus was on creating a collection that highlights the understanding of the artists’ deep connection with their environment; their respect for the land and their place in it, and how these elements are reflected in their art.

“We’ve also collected Aboriginal art that will attract young people and children as well as adults – art that will encourage everyone to celebrate Aboriginal artists,” Michael added.

About Dame Rosie and Michael Horton

Dame Rosie Horton is a well-known New Zealand philanthropist and Michael Horton the former proprietor of New Zealand’s largest newspaper company. Michael’s family were significant shareholders in Wilson & Horton, which owned the New Zealand Herald for 120 years before Michael sold his family’s shareholding in 1996.

It is a very personal collection driven by the art the Horton’s were most drawn to – the fresh artistic expression of contemporary Aboriginal art; its colour, shape and form and the stories that spoke to the Hortons most strongly – often those that expressed political or allegorical comment.

Over the past 16 years the Hortons travelled to, and met with, artists in the communities of Northern Australia.