To celebrate the 100th year of Whanganui's Sarjeant Gallery there will be a public ceremony on Friday, September 6 at 3pm.

It will be held on the steps of the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queen's Park and will
include speeches by Sarjeant Gallery director Greg Anderson, Mayor of Whanganui Hamish McDouall and a guest speaker, as well as choir performances by the Schola Sacra Choir and Wanganui Community Choir.

The Schola Sacra Choir has been in existence since 1974 and is now led by Iain Tetley.

The choir will sing a setting of a poem by Whanganui's James K Baxter, Haere Rā, which has been set to music by New Zealand composer William Green, especially for the occasion.

Advertisement

The Wanganui Community Choir, led by Lynn Whiteside, will sing Wairua o te Puna Aroha, written by Hori Tait and arranged by Julian Raphael, of Wellington.

The Sarjeant Gallery was first opened by Prime Minister William Massey in 1919.
The Sarjeant Gallery was first opened by Prime Minister William Massey in 1919.

A special birthday cake designed by Stacey Williams, of Stacey's Cakes, will be shared with attendees and will be cut by directors of the Sarjeant Gallery - Gordon Brown (1974–1977) Bill Milbank (1978–2006) and current director Anderson.

"The whole community is invited to join us on the steps of the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queen's Park to celebrate the 100th anniversary," Anderson said.

"It is a momentous occasion and as such we would like to properly recognise it."

Gallery founder Henry Sarjeant.
Gallery founder Henry Sarjeant.

On Saturday, September 7 the gallery will open a major new exhibition at Sarjeant on the Quay called Turn Of A Century: New Perspectives On 100 Years Of Collecting And Exhibiting.

Curated by the Sarjeant's curator and public programmes manager Greg Donson, the exhibition showcases some of New Zealand's best contemporary artists such as Adrienne Martyn, Regan Gentry, Roberta Thornley, Neil Pardington, Andrew Ross, Glen Hayward, Annie Mackenzie and Peter Trevelyan.

The artists were invited to respond to the 100-year-old, category 1 heritage-listed building.

"Viewers may well recognise elements of the heritage building in the exhibition but see
it in a completely new way," Donson said.

Advertisement

"Each member of this group has a connection to the gallery in some way – and
therefore will have a distinct and very personal response to it."

To complement the newly commissioned contemporary works, Turn of a Century will include works from the Sarjeant collection – including the Sarjeant's adored sculpture, The Wrestlers.

Raffaello Romanelli's 1914 sculpture The Wrestlers will feature alongside contemporary works in the centenary exhibition.
Raffaello Romanelli's 1914 sculpture The Wrestlers will feature alongside contemporary works in the centenary exhibition.

"One of the things we really wanted to do with this exhibition was to celebrate the Sarjeant's history of collecting and exhibiting.

"While Henry Sarjeant's bequest built the Sarjeant itself, it was his widow Ellen
Neame who purchased many of the early works for the collection while she lived and travelled in Europe in the early part of the 20th century so, yes, Ellen Neame's portrait will be in the show," Donson said.

On Saturday, September 7, there will be many things to do and see around the markets and Sarjeant on the Quay as the Sarjeant celebrates its big birthday.

The River City Big Band will be at the River Traders Market from 10.30 to 11.30am and McDouall will give a speech at 11am.

Donson will lead a free talk with the artists featured in Turn of the Century, and there will be free family day activities at Sarjeant on the Quay with artist demonstrations, children's activities, musical performances, a time capsule and a photo booth.

In the evening, there will be the Sarjeant's 100th Birthday Concert at the Whanganui Musicians Club in Deans Ave featuring the Wanganui Ukulele Orchestra and Skiffle band Hot Potato.

• Tickets can be purchased at Sarjeant on the Quay.