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Sunday 10 April 2016

Carmen’s Portrait first LGBTI in National Gallery

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 4th April 2016

A portrait of transgender icon Carmen Rupe by New Zealand artist Te Mete has been officially gifted to the people of Wellington by Rainbow MP Louisa Wall.

Unveiled on the International Day of Transgender Visibility, the portrait is now on display at the National Portrait Gallery for all to see.

In 2014, the portrait was purchased by the Labour MP during a Marriage Equality fundraising auction. Wall says the portrait is “the first iconic member of the LGBTI community to hang on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery, which is pioneering for Te Mete, as his work is such an important part of New Zealand culture and it deserves to be enjoyed by everyone”.

“Te Mete is an inspiration to his native Maori people and the LGBTI community among the rest of New Zealand and the world,” she says. “It is an appropriate acknowledgement of such a significant New Zealander who always strived to live an authentic existence. By doing so, Carmen paved the way for other people to come out of the darkness”.

The portrait was presented to Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown who says “Carmen was a pioneer and a true visionary of her time, and Te Mete did such an amazing job capturing her essence and spirit. I am honoured to hand over the painting into the National Portrait Gallery’s collection to be the custodians of an example of fine contemporary New Zealand art”.

Rupe ran for Mayor of Wellington in 1977 and stood for same-sex marriage, legalising prostitution, sex education in schools, nude beaches and decriminalising abortion.

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