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Christchurch Art Gallery Trust and Westpac Bring Back the Bull

Thanks to the generosity of people everywhere – including around the globe –Christchurch will remain the home of a magnificent bronze bull sculpture, following a six-week Back the Bull public campaign that has hit its target of $200,000.

Michael Parekowhai Chapman's Homer 2011. Bronze, stainless steel. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett, Auckland

Chapman’s Homer (pictured), by internationally renowned New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai, became a symbol of Christchurch’s unshakeable strength last year and a huge thanks goes out to everyone who ensured Cantabrians will keep it, says Westpac Director of Corporate Affairs, Sue Foley.

"We are delighted to be the primary funder in partnership with the Trust and thank our own local Westpac staff who helped ensure the campaign was a success. We also thank Gallery Director Jenny Harper for her drive, enthusiasm and belief that such a demanding target could be met."

The Chair of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust, Mike Stenhouse, says, "We are so re-enforced by this community which has, like us, backed the bull. 

“All pledges and miscellaneous donations – large and small – have given us the courage and support needed to commit to buying this major sculpture for the people of Christchurch. All pledges will be matched by ours.”

The 1.8 tonne bronze bull was made by Parekowhai for the Venice Biennale in 2011. It struck a lasting symbolic chord with the people of Christchurch when it was brought here in July last year on its return to New Zealand.

Locations for the sculpture are now being discussed – currently crated and stored at Christchurch Art Gallery, it will enjoy a presence at multiple public venues over the next two years. Gallery director Jenny Harper says, “There are a few leads we’d like to explore in the new year to make sure this popular work remains available to all who’ve supported it and taken it to their heart.

“The artist loves the idea of his work bringing communities together as Chapman’s Homer clearly has. The sculpture is expected to be clearly visible to all when it’s located finally on the redesigned forecourt of Christchurch Art Gallery in time for re-opening in 2015.” 

Despite the great result so far, organisers of the campaign say every bit still counts so people are encouraged to dip into their pockets one last time before the campaign officially ends at 2pm on Monday 30 September.

For more information or to make a ‘Back the Bull’ donation visit www.backthebull.co.nz or www.pledgeme.co.nz.


Updated on 23rd July 2015