Cultivate it as you will... [Carnegie’s New Zealand 1902-2015]
Cultivate it as you will explores the historic legacy of Carnegie Libraries. Named after the successful Scottish American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropic trust established 2,509 library buildings throughout the English-speaking world between 1886-1917. His charitable enterprise claimed to be an act of hands off gifting. "Cultivate it as you will" Carnegie proclaimed.
However, his generosity came with many conditions and some considered it tainted money due to poor labour relations leading to violent riots in his steel mills. New Zealand communities were persistent applicants for the programme resulting in the successful founding eighteen libraries at the turn of the century. To investigate this history, Smith travelled the country to document the twelve remaining buildings and their adaptive reuse. Featuring extensive video documentation and contextual material, the exhibition provides a contemplative reflection on one man's fraught legacy and the communities that fulfilled his vision.