Anne and Greg Hunter can tell a remarkable tale of art enthusiasm and generosity – it starts with them reading an artwork label and ends with them helping to realise the acquisition of a talented Mithila artist’s work.
Having relocated to Brisbane after many years in regional Queensland, QAGOMA Premium Members Anne and Greg Hunter became great enthusiasts of the Gallery and return visitors to The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) which spanned many of the spaces of QAG and GOMA before closing in April 2016. In particular, they were taken by the intricate inked geometries of Mithila artist Pushpa Kumari’s elaborate paintings displayed as part of the APT8 focus project Kalpa Vriksha Contemporary Indigenous and Vernacular Art of India. Whilst viewing the work and enjoying the beauty of the Kumari’s line work and composition, Anne Hunter also caught sight of text on the artist’s artwork labels: ‘Proposed for the Queensland Art Gallery Collection’.
Scrutinising other works in the display, the Hunters realised that Kumar’s Prakriti-Purusha 2014 was without a label identifying it as part of the ‘Queensland Art Gallery Collection’ and enjoying the security of finding an acquisition supporter.
The Hunters contacted QAGOMA, hoping to help the Gallery in some way to keep Kumari’s paintings in Brisbane. As it turned out, supporting an acquisition of Kumari’s painting was well within their grasp and a few conversations with the Foundation and QAGOMA’s curatorial staff led to the Hunters donating funds towards the purchase of Prakriti-Purusha and a brand new credit line for the work.
Prakriti and Purusha, female and male energy, are represented in an embrace in Prakriti-Purusha, where the two bodies become entwined and their profiles join to form a single face. Circled by a border of repeating motifs drawn from Mithila iconography such as fish and peacocks, Kumari’s work is laden with symbolism and the weight of both myth and history.
For the Hunters, a further narrative became entangled in the delicate lines of Prakriti-Purusha – one which grew with each conversation about the work and is now intimately bound to the memory of their time enjoying the Kalpa Vriksha display in APT8. This personal story ties their passion for Kumari’s artwork together with their first experience of supporting the Gallery.
The QAGOMA Foundation is the primary fundraising body of the Gallery and since its establishment in 1979 has acquired more than 7200 artworks.