Veteran artist gifts sculpture to campus

Artist Guy Ngan alongside the sculpture he has gifted to Massey University’s Wellington campus. He is pictured with, from left, senior lecturer Annette O’Sullivan who designed the engraving, College of Creative Arts Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Claire Robinson, son in-law Chis Clark, grand-daughter Rachel Clark and wife Jean Ngan.

A close-up of the sculpture Colosseum

More than 70 years after graduating from a forerunner institution to Massey’s College of Creative Arts, renowned sculptor Guy Ngan returned today to gift one of his works to the University.

While frail in health, the 92 year-old was determined to be on hand with his wife Jean for the dedication ceremony for his sculpture Colosseum - part of a group of works from the Habitation series he crafted in the 1980s and inspired by a visit to Rome.

His association with the Wellington campus stretches back to the mid 1940s when he attended night classes at the Wellington Technical College, which later became Wellington Polytechnic before it was merged with Massey University.

Mr Ngan, who continued his studies at the Royal College of Art and Goldsmith’s College in London, went on to make his name in what College of Creative Arts Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Claire Robinson described as a “dizzying array” of media.

His architectural, freestanding sculpture, design, painting, drawing, interior architecture and printmaking, including large-scale public works are dotted in towns and cities across New Zealand. In Wellington these include the façade sculpture on the Reserve Bank, the concrete relief on the Archives Building and the Beehive tapestry.

In 2012 he was inducted into the College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame. The College holds it induction ceremony for 2017 recipients on Friday.

Mr Ngan's wish was that the gifted sculpture, which had previously sat in the garden of his Wellington home, be installed on the Wellington campus as a fitting place for it.

Professor Robinson acknowledged the work of the Massey University Art Committee in supporting the installation of the work that added to Mr Ngan’s “contribution to New Zealand art practice, our city and now very much to our campus.”

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