Art heist hits Fringe artist

Published: Tue 20 Feb 2007 01:18 PM
February 20, 2007
Art heist hits Fringe artist
Fringe 07 artist Mat Hunkin is reeling today at the discovery his public artwork Public Announcement has been stolen in broad daylight - on the first day it was displayed.
The theft of Mr Hunkin's work occurred between 2pm and 4pm Monday, February 19 from the Cuba Street Wilson Carpark. Mr Hunkin's work, Public Announcement, is a five part giant comic strip with a new instalment being pasted up at two sites in Wellington every day for the next week.
"I expected someone might thieve the work at some stage, but I didn't think it would happen on the first day," said Mr Hunkin. "People were ringing and texting me asking where it was, so it was a bit embarrassing to not have it there."
In response, Mr Hunkin erected a poster explaining the absence, and requested that if anyone wanted to take the work to contact him for copies or to at least wait until darkness. The theft has not been reported to police.
Despite the rocky start to his five-day artwork, Mr Hunkin remains upbeat.
"Sure, it's not Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' or anything like that, but I'm kind-of stoked that someone liked it so much that they would nick it in broad daylight.
"Who knows? It might end up in Sotheby's art auctions one day."
Mr Hunkin has worked on the artwork for three months, with each instalment representing "a solid week's work", he said. Public Announcement is also being posted at the Wellington Railway Station. That work was left untouched.
Fringe 07 director Karen Blyth said the theft was unfortunate.
"Obviously we've got a very keen and brave art lover out there," she said. "It's just a shame that the thief's lust for good artwork couldn't have waited till darkness so the rest of Wellington could take a good look at it."

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