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Crime wave

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Forged paintings brazenly on display.

New Zealand's foremost art forger, Karl Sim, was born in Mangaweka and is celebrated every second year at the Mangaweka Fakes & Forgeries Festival.

Sim lived in Foxton and kept an antique shop, where he sold works he had painted. He copied the work of more than 50 artists, including Colin McCahon, Frances Hodgkins, Rita Angus and Charles F Goldie. He was convicted and fined $1000 in 1985. After the case he changed his name by deed poll to Carl F Goldie so that he could legitimately sign paintings 'C. F. Goldie'.

Penelope Jackson, one of the founding trustees of the New Zealand Art Crimes Research Trust, says, ‘Personally, I’d rather see artists producing their own art rather than copying the work of others.' But the festival, hosted by Richard Aslett at his Mangaweka Yellow Church Gallery, is always highly popular. In 2017 there were more than 50 adult entries, and many of them sold - including the winner, La Jacinda by Victoria Heatherbell. There were also nearly 200 under-16 entries.

Mangaweka F&F Winner 2017: La Jacinda by Victoria Heatherbell

'The 2017 event occurred just following the elections, as Jacinda fever was sweeping the nation and she was crowned Prime-minister, so the timing was spot on,' says Richard. 'We are looking forward to the 30th of November with the opening of the 2019’s competition and the possibility of Simon Bridges, Crusher Collins or even Winston making it on to the Gallery walls!'

Works for the 2019 Mangaweka Fakes & Forgeries competition can be submitted until 19 November. Identical replicas, copies with a twist, 'inspired-by', and 'in the style of' are all welcomed. An exhibition of the works will open on 30 November.


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