How to get a public gallery named after you

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 13 July 2010.

How to get a public gallery named after you image How to get a public gallery named after you image

Prominent barrister, philanthropist and Art Gallery Chairman, Michael Abbott QC was recently honoured by The Art Gallery of South Australia with the renaming of its Southeast Asian art collection gallery.

Mr Abbott has been one of the Gallery’s most generous and prolific donors, giving nearly 1,000 Asian art objects, valued in excess of $3 million, since 1976.

The Art Gallery’s Acting Director, Mr Kaj Lindstrom said Michael Abbott “has been instrumental in raising the profile of Asian art and culture in Australia and deserves to be honoured in this way.”

The newly-named Michael Abbott Gallery in the lower Melrose wing will be a permanent showcase for some of the greatest treasures of Southeast Asian art from the Gallery’s collection, including many objects donated by Mr Abbott himself. Among the Abbott gifts now on display is the oldest Indonesian pre-historic sculpture in an Australian collection and a very rare Javanese temple sculpture.

Michael Abbott says he began collecting Asian art when he travelled to Indonesia and East Timor in the mid 60s, where he fell in love with Southeast Asian culture. “Initially I was interested in ceramics, then I started to become interested in textiles. My interest has really grown from there.”

Mr Abbott was able to build his extensive collection thanks partly to the assistance of his former wife Mary Abbott and the couple’s children, who used to accompany him on his collecting trips to Asia. He reflects “it was the time when you heard a lot about drug mules in the news in relation to Australians in Asia. So my children, when they were still young, started to refer to themselves as art mules because I would take up all their baggage allowance to get my newly acquired ceramics home.”

“Collecting Asian art has been my life’s passion, but actually giving my collection away has been even more fulfilling. That is my advice to other Asian art collectors – follow your passion but be generous and support Australia’s public cultural institutions. It is more important than ever that Australia’s museums and art galleries present great Asian art as a way for Australians to better understand our place in this region and the cultures of our nearest neighbours.”

Mr Abbott now joins an exclusive group of donors to the Art Gallery of South Australia who have had a gallery named after them. Others in recent years include Max Carter, Mary Overton and James & Diana Ramsay.

The Michael Abbott Gallery is now open 10am to 5pm daily and free of charge to the public as part of the permanent collection displays of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Art Gallery of South Australia on Artabase

INDONESIA
Door with lintel
18th century, Bali
wood
178.0 × 103.0 × 10.5 cm
Gift of Michael Abbott QC through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2008
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

(Top image)

INDIA INDONESIA
Ceremonial cloth and sacred heirloom with central diamond field [dodot]
17th century, Coromandel Coast
cotton, block printed, batik and mordant dyes
303.0 × 199.0 cm
Gift of Michael Abbott QC through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2008
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide