Plenty of praise for ‘reject’ mural

Monday March 12, 2018 Written by Published in Culture
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman and New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall. 18031110 New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman and New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall. 18031110

Andy Leleisi’uao’s “Mangere Aroha” received an overwhelming response in the opening exhibition at the Bergman Gallery on Thursday night.

 

The 16 metre painting was initially commissioned for the Mangere’s Art Centre. However it was rejected for being too expressive and too “visually powerful” for its planned public location.

Bergman Gallery hosted New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern earlier during the day in a special exhibition before the public opening in the evening.

She was accompanied by deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and trade Winston Peters and minister for Pacific Peoples and MP for Mangere, Aupito Su'a William Sio, minister for social development and disability issues and associate minister for arts, heritage, culture and Pacific Peoples, Carmel Sepuloni, and other distinguished members of the New Zealand delegation.

Leleisi’uao thanked Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman for reviving the art and giving it a “second chance”.

The 48-year-old said his work represented the communities working together for the progress and prosperity of Mangere.

He said it was also a tribute to the pride of Mangere: the likes of Valerie Adams, Mark Hunt, Frank Bruce, David Lange, the late Jonah Lomu, Joseph Parker, David Tua, Jason Taumalolo and artist Fatu Feu’u, among others.

The public exhibition was opened by Canterbury Museum director Anthony Wright who praised Leleisi’uao for his work.

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