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Guy Ngan (1926-2017) — Artist and collector

Sorting through Guy’s things before his house sold, I was struck by his wide range of creativity and interests. He worked in wood, pounamu, bone, aluminium, bronze, copper, oils, watercolour, ink, pencil, Perspex, concrete and tiles to create murals, sculpture, paintings, drawings, screen prints, furniture or jewellery. With a curious mind, he collected books and ceramics, Chinese calligraphy and scrolls, and pieces from his travels or his time as Director of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts (1976-86). He gathered the work of friends and artists he admired, including Hundertwasser — a longstanding friend since the 1970s. Guy identified as Pacific Chinese and made his living as a wood carver, designer and artist. His sensibility of Chinese and Asian art grew from his early schooling in Guangzhou and later travel throughout Asia. His Western art and design whakapapa derived from study at Wellington Technical College, London’s Royal College of Art and extensive travel in Europe and the US. His embrace of Māori and Pacific art evolved from an interest in local arts and materials, and his love of the natural environment. He fervently believed that good design could make the world a better place and that artworks or beautiful crafts in public and private settings added to the enjoyment of life. He built his home along these lines — white plaster walls for displaying art, shelves to hold books and ceramics, windows to capture views of a garden or sculpture, a fish pond for contemplation and calm, workspaces for heavy machinery or for finer work. His house and garden were full of interesting crafts, plants, river stones and driftwood, and constantly changing sculpture, pictures and pots. Guy’s living space was an extension of his creative expression, as well as a home to raise a family in and to welcome friends to. He loved to cook and to grow things, to talk history or the news of the day. He was generous in supporting other artists and craftspeople through the exchange of ideas and by connecting them with collectors and buyers. This estate sale represents a portion of Guy’s work and collections from the 1960s to the 2000s. There are favourite pieces he made or collected because he liked them, items that decorated his house or which appeared in his garden. Thanks to Andrew and the Cordy’s team for their understanding of Guy’s kaupapa and their care in bringing this sale to fruition. Liz Ngan, Sep 2019 Guy’s daughter