An Invercargill preschooler has begun painting a series of original canvases in a bid to replace several precious New Zealand artworks destroyed in a truck fire last month.
Among the art destroyed was a Colin McCahon painting from his Northland series, valued at about $250,000, and a Ralph Hotere painting from his Aramoana series worth about $200,000.
Keen kindy artist Wilson Ludlow had visited the Milford Galleries exhibition in Invercargill and was so concerned when he heard about the losses he decided to do something about it.
The four-year-old knows only too well the misery fire can bring. Last year he lost all his toys, books and clothes when his bedroom was gutted by a blaze which started in a faulty electrical multi-board.
Wilson’s mum Lyndal said she didn’t know he even knew about the truck fire.
“He said ‘M-u-u-u-u-u-m, I’m going to give my paintings to those people whose things got burnt.”‘
Milford Galleries director Stephen Higginson was left almost speechless by Wilson’s generosity.
“What can I say? That’s utterly marvellous. What a wonderful wee boy.”
Higginson said the gallery had been inundated by gestures of kindness and goodwill since details of the fire and losses had been released.
“To hear this too – wow.”
Higginson confirmed 36 works, worth an estimated $1 million, were lost in the truck fire, although a final insurance figure was yet to be determined. The gallery’s insurers had lodged a claim against the trucking company, he said.
The paintings were being transported to Dunedin on July 10 following an exhibition in Invercargill when the truck caught fire on SH1 near Clinton, South Otago.