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Warrior Paintings for Museum
Three of the most emotive works by late Auckland artist Nelson Thompson have been given to the public.
His widow Valerie Thompson has donated his Rainbow Warrior series to the Auckland Maritime Museum.
The three acrylic on canvas paintings depict a dove on the bow of the Rainbow Warrior escaping through the shattered hull and framed by a rainbow.
Mr Thompson’s death in July at 72 surprised everyone that knew him – caused by a stroke while working on his latest landscape.
His widow decided soon after he died that he would have wanted the public to see the works.
“The whole episode affected us both greatly,” she said, referring to the Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985.
“My husband was not a member of Greenpeace but felt very strongly about the environment and wanted a message of peace and hope to continue through his paintings.”
Auckland Maritime Museum director Dr Rodney Wilson said he was pleased and grateful to receive the works, which will be exhibited by the Auckland City Council until the museum is built.
Original article published in The Auckland Star, 3/1/90
Or download a PDF version.
Time to Remember the Rainbow Warrior
Ten minutes to midnight was the exact time the Rainbow Warrior was bombed on 10 July 1985. It is also the name of an exhibition that marks the 20th anniversary of the fateful event.
Ten Minutes To Midnight recounts the French attack on the Greenpeace ship at Marsden Wharf that prevented it sailing to Mururoa Atoll to protest against nuclear testing there undertaken by the French government.
The exhibition features pieces retrieved from the sunken vessel, including a watermarked clock with its hands frozen at “ten minutes to midnight”, photographs by Greenpeace and paintings with symbolic images of peace and hope by artist Nelson Thompson.
As well as the exhibition, there will be a reunion of police staff who worked on the case, and a lecture series including accounts from people on board Rainbow Warrior the night it was bombed.
A Greenpeace-commissioned sculpture by artist Louise Purvis will be on display during the exhibition’s first week, before it is transported to Matauri Bay, Northland, the final resting place of the sunken Rainbow Warrior.
During a special commemoration ceremony on 10 July, the sculpture will be submerged and hung aboard the wreck.
Ten Minutes To Midnight runs from 27June until 25 September at the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, corner Quay and Hobson streets, central city.

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Original article published in City Scene, 26/6/05 edition phone 379 2020
Other sites of interest:
Art New Zealand
Wynne Colgan article on Nelson Thompson -
refer to Issue no.57 Summer 1990 - 91
Auckland City Art Gallery
See the collection of Thompson's art works held by the City Art Gallery
Wellington City Art Gallery
Wellington's main art gallery