A painting of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern smiling that Mona Lisa smile goes to a new home as the fifth Fakes & Forgeries exhibition comes down on Sunday, Richard Aslett says.

The show at his Mangaweka Yellow Church Gallery had more than 50 adult entries, and many of them sold. There were also nearly 200 under-16 entries, displayed in November.

La Jacinda was bought by a woman from the Kapiti Coast, for the asking price of $1200. Mr Aslett gets a commission.

The show's artists will have a month to pick up their work.


The idea of the exhibition came as Mr Aslett and Mangaweka glass caster Maree Brannigan drank wine and pondered an art event for the Rangitikei town. They seized on Fakes & Forgeries because New Zealand's foremost art forger, Karl Sim, was born in Mangaweka.

He lived in Foxton and kept an antique shop, where he sold works he had painted. He copied the work of more than 50 artists, including Colin McCahon and Charles F Goldie, and he forged their names to his work.

He was convicted and fined in 1985, and changed his name to Carl Feoder Goldie so that he could legitimately sign paintings "CF Goldie".

The ageing forger came from his home in Orewa to open the first Fakes & Forgeries exhibition at Mangaweka in 2007, and he died in Auckland in 2013.

Since 2007 the exhibitions have been held every two years, during the summer. They have attracted entries from New Zealand and overseas.

The entry criteria are loose, Mr Aslett said.

"It can be an exact copy, a copy with a twist, or inspired by or in the style of a famous art work or artist."

Politics can be a theme, and this year United States President Donald Trump featured in a copy of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

This year a first-time painter entered two pictures, both modelled on Pablo Picasso's work.

"That's what we really like - when the exhibition kick starts someone."

When this year's pictures are cleared Mr Aslett will still be showing the work of Graham Christensen. He's looking for more artists who would like to show. There's no cost, and he takes a small commission from any work sold.

He also sells his own photographs, printed on canvas, and mainly local scenes.

"People are specifically coming for them."

During past summers he's had shows of Rudyard Yap's "suggestive" and semi-nude photographs in a back room - limited to adult viewers. He'd like to do that again, but has been unable to find Mr Yap.

For next summer's big exhibition he may return to an earlier theme, "Conspiracy Theory", which also inspired quirky work.