Saturday, October 11, 2008

Theft of Gerald Murai's Art

This an e-mail (lightly edited) from Amy Markham, who runs a plein air group on the Big Island. It's a request to keep an eye out for some stolen art, and also a cautionary tale for those of us who show our art in public.

Aloha all...

This is of significance. As many of you know Gerald Murai & Patrick Sarsfield recently (9/5-9/25) had an exhibit at East Hawaii Cultural Center. Gerald hung an estimated 92 works, but due to a oversight- only 87 were listed in the show's booklet. Although Gerald noticed the oversight pre-opening, he didn't press it.

Unfortunately about half way through the show, a still life of Gerald's went missing. It's an oil on canvas titled "Still life with Pomegranate". The painting depicts a pomegranate thats been split unevenly open, seeds dripping out. Gerald was bothered by the theft, but took the loss in stride. . . . The show ended and he and Patrick took their work down. . . .

When Gerald got home and unloaded his truck, he immediately noticed that one of his favorite peices, a nude titled "Shelly's Back" was missing. It was an oil on canvas, NFS. He promptly called the EHCC, but no one had seen it. He was devastated, miserable, distraught. I was so affected by Gerald's sadness, that I phoned Leslie Sears who had photographed some of the show. Had she had photographed any of the nudes? She had, and a copy was sent to Gerald. When he saw the photo, he was horrified to notice that "Shelly's Back" was not the only missing painting- another nude was missing too!! "Standing Nude" a small oil on canvas is also unaccounted for. It's a study of a standing nude woman, leaning forward on a white pillar. . . .

Sadly there's no accurate inventory list, and no "check in/check out" procedure, so it's difficult to determine if other works are missing too. Gerald is the first to admit that he's unorganized, but like many artists, the work he creates remains fresh in his mind. He can recall the smallest of detail in each painting, down to the lighting. Gerald is deeply bummed. If you see any of these 3 missing paintings, please call Gerald Murai at 935-5898. [Above] is a photo of the 2 missing nudes, we're still trying to locate a photo of the missing still life. Please log onto the blog [Plein Air Artists of Hawaii Island] to see more photos of the missing nudes.

Artists!! This is a wake up call for everyone! Before you display your work inventory it, & photograph it! If you have work in a show, exhibit, or gallery, photograph it inside the gallery. Inventory all your work before it's handled by anyone, and again after. If works are not listed in a gallery booklet, perhaps they shouldn't be shown. I'm told that neither the EHCC nor the Wailoa Center insure the art in their galleries. Please check with gallery directors for the most accurate insurance info before your works are placed anywhere. Keep your eyes peeled!
Mahalo nui loa, Amy Markham

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