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William in Paradise; and Fanta Pants


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The Inimitable Mister Hopkins; The Barry Hopkins Collection is a rich and fascinating tribute to the extensive art collection of Waikato art Collector Barry Hopkins.
The exhibition is curated by Waikato Museum Concept Leader Visual Arts Leafa Wilson in collaboration with Barry Hopkins himself.
Despite having never created a piece of art himself, Barry is an avid art collector. Born to an old farming family in Ohaupo, he began collecting at the age of sixteen when, by chance, he came across M.T. Clayton’s painting of Abel Tasman’s ships Zeehaen and Heemskerck in the garage of a family friend. The painting caught his eye and he acquired it for next to nothing. From this point on, Barry became a keen collector of art and art objects – a dedication that has led to an active presence in the Waikato art community and an impressive art collection, much of which is housed at the Waikato Museum.
Barry’s collection is fascinating, not just because of the diversity and content of the works, but because of his unusual collection habits. He doesn’t follow current trends; he doesn’t go for big names or purchase with the intention of making a lucrative investment – Barry selects according to his own sensibilities which appear to be unpretentious and completely unpredictable. While the selections may seem odd to many, on the whole the works are resoundingly positive and some bordering on hilarious. From complete unknowns such as Te Awamutu wrestling and boxing coach Johnny Thompson (whose work depicts a Taniwha eating a naughty little boy), to the likes of Colin McCahon’s Waterfall and early Richard Killeen painting Rise and Fall; there is no formula used.

Food for thought, Evelyn Gardiner, photographic collage (2008)
Part of the original board that established Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Barry formed close relationships with artists such as Buck Nin and Paratene Matchitt, and developed a vested interest in emerging Maori contemporary artists. He is a prominent member of the Waikato Society of Arts and is a former president and current member of the Friends of the Waikato Museum.
While visitors to The Inimitable Mister Hopkins may find themselves wondering where the logic is, where the narrative is heading or where it begins, this is exactly the desired response. While there is seemly a lack of order, underneath there is much wit, intelligence and a wonderful insight into a quirky-yet-brilliant mind.
3 works exhibited by Mark Curtis are now part of the Museum Collection.

Item Type: Contribution to a Show/Exhibition
Additional Information: Curated by Leafa Wilson
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: Mark Curtis
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 01:39
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:54

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