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Search for unknown artwork answers

Search for unknown artwork answers
Council people and facilities group manager Sarah Mosley and Ashburton Art Gallery director Shirin Khosraviani with one of the three distinctive metal artworks that has unknown origins.

Mystery surrounds three large artworks displayed at Ashburton's council offices for 50 years.

The origins of the large distinctive metal and wood sculptures have the Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum team baffled.

Council's people and facilities group manager Sarah Mosley said little is known about the artworks with an agricultural theme.

“As far as we can determine, they have been on display for as long as council have occupied their admin building, and there is no evidence that they have been moved from these three locations in the building.

“They are listed as untitled [and] we are yet to find the title given to them by the maker.”

District ratepayers own an extensive civic art collection of over 180 works.

Many of these will adorn Te Whare Whakatere, Ashburton’s new library and civic centre, when it opens. The opening date has been delayed until January.

As staff began collating the artworks in the council building ahead of the move, they were stumped by the origins of the three items.

The artworks resemble a vintage-farm machinery steampunk mash-up.

There have been some leads that suggested people to contact, Mosley said.

“These leads were mostly for previous councillors and council staff.

“As of yet, no one has been able to identify who the maker is or give us an exact date of production.”

The mysterious three works and other objects and artworks from the civic art collection will be displayed in Te Whare Whakatere, Mosley said.

“Due to the type of sculptures, we are considering what the best location is for these and whether they are placed permanently or rotational like other objects, but we would like to discuss the options with the artist or their descendants before proceeding.”

An artwork plan is being prepared for the new building, which will open on Januray 22.

Mosley previously said they planned to have a gallery wall within the new library to allow for items of civic collection to rotate on a more frequent basis.

By Jonathan Leask