Ann-Maree O’Connor’s donations made in memoriam grow the Flinders University Museum of Art collection
‘The Flinders University Museum of Art collection is a treasure in Australia’s art resources,’ says long-time supporter and donor Ann-Maree O’Connor.
Established at the same time as the University in 1966, the Art Museum’s collection includes important works by non-Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and Indigenous artists from around the world.
A former Flinders University staff member, Ann-Maree has been attending Flinders University Museum of Art exhibitions for nearly 30 years. She believes in the value of art as a research and teaching resource, and is passionate about developing the Art Museum’s collection.
This year, Ann-Maree made two donations to the Art Museum’s quest to purchase a pair of important artworks by internationally acclaimed photographer Dr Christian Thompson AO.
‘The works by Christian Thompson are at the heart of why the Art Museum matters. His works give a new dimension to portraiture, and as an Indigenous artist he is so right, and so thoroughly entitled, to question the roles that have been ascribed to James Cook and biologist and anthropologist, Walter Baldwin Spencer in colonial Australia.’
Ann-Maree’s donations to the artwork acquisition were particularly special as they were made in memory of her late partner Peter Bailie, and her friend the late Gary Haigh.
‘I heard about the Flinders Art Gallery and Museum through Peter, from his time working at Flinders from 1989 until 2000, when he passed away,’ she says. ‘Peter loved art and was an active supporter of the Art Museum. We used to go to exhibitions together.’
In remembering her friend Gary Haigh, Ann-Maree says ‘Gary and his partner Robyn Barratt were strong supporters of the Flinders University Museum of Art and went to many openings where we enjoyed catching up to talk about the art on display.’
At the time of the Flinders University City Gallery's final exhibition HEAD-TO-HEAD: Shifting perspectives in Australian portraiture, Mr Haigh was very ill and wasn’t able to attend. Sadly, he passed away in June this year.
‘Gary was a keen and talented photographer. The works, particularly in relation to the innovative use of the medium of photography, were very appropriate as a way of remembering him.’
Ann-Maree encourages others to support the development of the collection. ‘It’s important that it continues to grow, that it’s a living Art Museum, and that it retains its place as a serious and important art resource in Australia.
Ann-Maree’s story is featured in our 2018 Encounter magazine, read more.
You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed.