$250 of student money was spent by OUSA [Otago University Students’ Association], last year on a 103cm x 78cm, framed portrait of the cartoon cat Garfield wearing pink lingerie, stockings and high heels.
The artwork, ‘Lasagnerie’ by student Emily Davidson, featured as a pull-out poster in Critic [student magazine of Otago University Students’ Association] issue 11 2017, and was entered in the OUSA Student Art Exhibition.
2017 OUSA President Hugh Baird bought the artwork at the exhibition on behalf of OUSA for $250, and had it installed right in the OUSA secretary’s office, directly in front of her desk, as a practical joke.
The painting has since been moved and now hangs inside the doorway of the OUSA Executive office bullpen—because no other OUSA department wanted it. It has been hung portrait, despite being in a landscape frame.
Current OUSA President Caitlin Barlow-Groome called it “a fucking waste of money”.
Welfare Officer Abigail Clarke said it was “beautiful”, but she was “lucky, because my desk faces away from it… but any student that comes up here has to look at the cat porn on our wall”.
When asked if the artwork haunted him while he tried to work, Campaigns Officer Roger Yan admitted “It definitely gets me sometimes.”
It is traditional for OUSA to purchase one piece of artwork from the Student Art Exhibition, normally chosen by the President, as a show of support for promising young artists.
OUSA CEO Debbie Downs said that ‘Lasagnerie’ “wasn’t one of the most expensive paintings available at the Art display”.
Several of the pieces bought in past years have appreciated in value considerably as the student artists have gone on to become more prominent. It is unclear yet how much appreciation value ‘Lasagnerie’ will have.
Critic likes to believe sexy Garfield will usher in a new renaissance of post-modern, post-ironic drawings of sexualised cartoon animals, which will be remembered as western society’s defining cultural output.