Famous faces on show in Wellington

23:24, Apr 07 2012
Cheryl Vale
SPORTING HEROS: Portraits of Sir Peter Leitch by Sally Randell and Sir Graham Henry by Cheryl Vale in the Adam Portrait Award.

Some of New Zealand's most well-known faces are on display as part of a national portrait exhibition.

The 2012 Adam Portrait Award is at Wellington's NZ Portrait Gallery until Tuesday, when it will travel to other galleries around the country.

In the exhibition are two portraits by different artists of Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who said he was honoured he had been put into the exhibition twice, although he was unaware of one of the portraits.

He did spend long periods sitting for John Gillies' The Bob, no mean feat for a mayor who has been kept on his toes in recent months.

"My wife arranged most of it, so I was under instruction to sit in her office on several occasions and try to remember the pose, which I had to do for a long period."

Parker was impressed by Gillies' portrait of him."I think he is a fine artist, but I have no doubt he had to struggle to give me a going over. It was hard to sit still."

The second piece, by Fiona Lees, Bob The Builder (Yes We Can), was a title the mayor liked because of its positivity.

Both are award-winning artists, Gillies in the Montana World of Wearable Art Awards in 2005 and as a four-time Adam Portraiture Award finalist. Lees recently graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and was awarded the Jens Hansen Excellence Award.

Parker isn't the only famous face. Joining him are All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, the Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch, Olympic athlete Valerie Adams, Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

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