"Art is able to provide solace, exhilaration, and satisfaction in a huge variety of different forms. Above all it is able to humanise a building, infusing an often soulless and impersonal environment with affirmation . . . many critical moments in our lives occur there, from birth through to death and they ought to take place in surroundings which honour their true significance."
- Jeremy Baron, Lesley Greene, “Art in Hospitals,” British Medical Journal 289, (1984): 1737.
The process to establish an art collection at the Dunedin Hospital began in 1970 with the formation of the Dunedin Hospital Art Committee. The Committee gained the support of the Otago Art Society and the people of Dunedin, holding specialist art exhibitions for paintings to be purchased and donated to the hospital. All of the art at Dunedin and Wakari Hospitals is now owned by The Healthcare Otago Charitable Trust, with the exception of Te Oranga Tonu Tanga – Mahi Toi (The Māori Mental Health Team Artworks).
Te Oranga Tonu Tanga is within the Southern District Health Board, Dunedin, New Zealand. The name translates to, “A pathway for healing.” Taonga belonging to this area are the responsibility of the Kaioranga Hauora Māori in Te Taiahoaho and not the Southern DHB. They retain all rights to these treasures, numbering approximately 37 works at the present time.
We are extremely fortunate for the support and guidance of the Art Advisory Committee. The Art Advisory Committee manage the art collection at Dunedin and Wakari Hospitals on a voluntary basis, with a dedicated group of people from various backgrounds related to the arts and health including hospital staff, and those in the business and artistic community. With funding from the Trust, the Art Advisory Committee has purchased quality original works, as well as limited edition prints and colourful reproductions. The Trust and the Southern District Health Board recognise the important role the Art Advisory Committee offer including providing expert advice on protecting and displaying the artwork to best effect. Barbara Brinsley is the current Aesthetics Coordinator.
Below is a showcase of just some of the works in this important and valuable collection. The entire collection has recently been catalogued by art expert Christine Mulligan. Christine has also kindly contributed background information for each work showcased below (click on the image to reveal).