Despite having a fanatic fanbase, James Heath’s fledgling art career didn’t take flight during OUSA Art Week.
Art Week is an annual campaign to support student artists. As far as we can tell, James is the first President in recent history to be brave enough to submit his masterpiece for the world to see. Clearly, for good reason.
The piece he submitted, labeled ‘Me and My Mate Harlene’ was drawn with a whiteboard marker on a certified carbon-neutral 80gsm piece of paper, boasts both his and Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne’s signature, and is valued at $250. 50 prints were on sale for $15 a pop and all proceeds went to Thursdays in Black Otago. Only two people purchased a print and they were both executive members of Thursdays in Black.
One of the buyers, Rachel Tombs, suggested that if the University still had an Art History Deparmtent, that people would recognise something of “visual significance when they saw it”. The second buyer, Kayli Taylor, said "It was beautiful. It inspired me. What a good cause. Wear black on Thursdays.”
James is undeterred. He said, “the road to artistic success is paved with failure. Vincent Van Gogh died having sold only one painting - so by that measure I'm twice as successful as Van Gogh.”
Both Rachel and Kayli, as well as Thursdays in Black Otago’s co-leader Tanya Findlater, have since put forward a binding motion to the upcoming Student General Meeting “That OUSA purchase the original copy of ‘Me and my Mate Harlene’ […] to be displayed in OUSA facilities for the long term viewing pleasure of students” for at least 80% of its original value. A brave display of the power of SGMs and blatant self-interest.