Christchurch artist's muse stolen

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Kees Bruin with his shipping-container artwork, which was stolen at the weekend.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

CREATION OF BEAUTY: Kees Bruin with his shipping-container artwork, which was stolen at the weekend.

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Christchurch artist Kees Bruin has lost his muse.

His large public artwork, called Muse, was stolen last weekend from the Sumner shipping container it adorned.

Muse is one of many art reproductions being used to beautify shipping containers installed to protect people from rockfall risk in the suburb.

Bruin said he was mystified by the theft.

"I would like to know how and why they did it. It would be impossible for one person to have taken it," he said.

"They would need a very big ladder. It is about 10 metres high at the top. They must have done it at night or someone would have seen it."

Muse was due to be replaced with a different work by Bruin as it was defaced with white paint in October.

"It is the only one that has been picked on and now it has been stolen. I don't know what's going on," he said.

Gallery owner Bryan L'Estrange has been the curator of the 15 artworks displayed on shipping containers in Sumner.

Police were investigating the theft, he said.

"It's a loss to the community having that come down. A lot of time and money goes into each artwork," he said.

"I feel dispirited. We have been through so much down here. Now, instead of a beautiful artwork, we have ugly containers that people have to look at every day."

L'Estrange said the artwork may have been vandalised and stolen because it featured a naked woman.

"I think it may be about the subject matter. It may be about the body image or someone wanting a nude image," he said.

Graphic designer Dinesh Patel founded the container art exhibition as a way to lift the spirits of Sumner residents. "It's terrible. It is a really big loss for the community. I started this project because I wanted to give Sumner a gift, but now we have this really negative thing happening."

L'Estrange said people with information about the theft should call Lyttelton police on 378 0200.

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