Curators from Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum have won an intricately crafted £17,000 lacquered container with gold motifs for the museum’s World Cultures collection. The container was won at Collect, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
RAMM is one of only five museums to win a share of £75,000 to buy their selected object thanks to Art Fund Collect, an initiative aimed at championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections. Art Fund Collect took place on Thursday, May 13, the preview day of Collect.
Ahead of private buyers, short-listed curators had one hour to go around the fair and pick an object to acquire on behalf of their museum or gallery. Final selections were submitted to an expert panel of judges, who decided which curators should win a share of the £75,000 funding pot to acquire their chosen object outright.
RAMM curators, Penny Sexton and Tony Eccles, selected Golden Fields of Rice (2009), a fine example of the craftsmanship of the highly skilled lacquer maker, Mutsumi Suzuki. Born in Kyoto in 1942, Suzuki died last year and this piece meant a great deal to him.
Alan Caig, head of Leisure and Museums for Exeter City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be one of the winners and to be able to bring this stunning lacquer object to Exeter’s collections. We have a long tradition of collecting lacquer and Golden Fields of Rice beautifully complements other pieces in the collection. It will feature in RAMM’s new displays when the museum opens next year. It is also a wonderful addition to RAMM’s resources for students, artists and craftsmen. We are grateful to Art Fund Collect for providing us with this rare and unusual opportunity to boost our collections.”
Eleven museums and galleries were short-listed to take part in Art Fund Collect 2010 from a total of 21 applications from across the UK.
The other four winners of Art Fund Collect 2010 are: Aberdeen Art Gallery; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead; and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “It’s a delight to see five winning curators each walking away from Art Fund Collect with an extraordinary new object for their collections. Art Fund Collect is a smart and swift way of boosting public collections with the best of international contemporary craft. It’s also frankly fun – offering curators from across the country a chance to mingle, exchange ideas and soak up the atmosphere of the fair, alongside the excitement of the competition itself.”
Rosy Greenlees, executive director of the Crafts Council, said: “Once again, Art Fund Collect enables museums and galleries to acquire ambitious, bold and innovative contemporary craft. Making it possible for people to see contemporary craft in public collections is at the centre of the Crafts Council’s vision and Art Fund Collect is a key way that we make this happen. My congratulations to RAMM on their success this year.”