Collective collages bad news for posties

FRIDAY , 24 MARCH 2006

Assemblage artist Dale Copeland has been weighing down her rural postie with piles of packages.


"I'm sure he thinks I'm smuggling something," the Puniho woman says.

But if the rural postman pieced the evidence together, he would realize that Copeland has been receiving works of art for the 8th International Collage Exhibition and Exchange.

And earlier this week, he delivered the 10,000th collage to her door. This after years of running the art exchange.

However, Copeland is not certain if that significant mark can be claimed by Joao Colagem, of the Netherlands, or Marcelle Guidry, of New Orleans.

"Never trust a mathematician," Copeland said yesterday.

But she did know that until yesterday, she had received 142 collage pictures for this year's exhibition to be held in the new Real Tart Gallery on April 1.

Last year she received 175 works.

"The deadline was on Monday, but lots of people have said they have sent them," she said.

"One package I'm worried about is coming from Romania she sent it over a month ago."

One thing that has been lost is the exhibition's name. It used to be known as the Baker's Dozen, but that title has been reclaimed by the man who began the exchange.

Copeland took over the exhibition in 2000, after its originator in Mexico had mail go missing.

The man had now moved to Texas and took the name back, planning to run his own exchange, she said.

But Copeland, who has made friends all over the world through the collages, will continue running her own exchange.

What happens is that each artist sends 13 collages to her. Two of these go to art institutions around the world and the rest are swapped with other artists.

"This is how world peace can happen real people just co-operating," she said.

Not only does Copeland have to receive the artworks, scan each one and exhibit them online and in reality, she also has to post packages out to people all over the world.

"I wear myself ragged when it's in full flow. I've been doing 17-hour days, getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning and going until I drop at night."

On April 1, the real and virtual collage exhibitions open.

Taranaki folk can see the the works at the new Real Tart Gallery, in the old Masters building, while those further afield can see the show on the Virtual Tart website.

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