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Actor Sam Neill unlocks Art Gallery's mysteries

25 June 2007

Hollywood actor Sam Neill will "unlock the mysteries" of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu’s Permanent Collection from next Monday, 2 July.

The Gallery is launching a new audio guide, narrated by Sam Neill, which takes the Gallery visitor on a tour of 21 nationally-significant works on display in the Gallery’s Permanent Collection Gallery.

"The audio guide is not an art history lesson," says Gallery Projects and Team Facilitation Manager Neil Semple.

"Rather it unlocks the mysteries of the Collection, providing the visitor with a two to three-minute snapshot of the artist and the featured artwork. The commentary is accessible and anecdotal, and often includes fascinating information about the making of the artwork.

"With the audio guide, we are creating a different experience for the visitor during which they are informed, educated and at the same time entertained."

Mr Semple says the tour is self-guided, the visitor paying $5 to hire an iPod for the commentary which enables them to wander through the Art Gallery Collection at their leisure.

The new audio guide will also be available for downloaded at home from the Gallery’s website at, along with a separate guide called, Behind the Scenes. This provides a brief history on the Gallery, its people, the Collection from its beginnings in the Canterbury Society of Arts and the building from the former Robert McDougall through to today’s Christchurch Art Gallery.

Mr Semple says by having the audio guides on-line, people who are unable to visit the Gallery are still able to view the featured works and listen to the audio guide.

Throughout July, those who hire the new Gallery audio guide go in to a draw to win a 30GB apple iPod.

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