Kitchener-Waterloo

$5K figure stolen from Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery

The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is asking the public to keep an eye out for a small earthenware figure with a tarnished silver glaze finish that was stolen from the gallery on February 27 around 5:35 p.m.

Gallery has 'a very good image' on camera of thief taking the artwork

A small glazed earthenware figure was stolen from the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery on February 27 around 5:35 p.m. during an event at the building.

The work, by contemporary artist An Te Liu, is called Eidolon I, 2014, and measures 10 cm x 7 cm x 15 cm. It is greenish in colour with a tarnished silver finish, and mimics the shape of Styrofoam packing material stacked together. The work is valued at $5,000. 

According to Shirley Madill, the gallery's executive director, staff conducted a count of the artworks and realized Thursday that the small figure was missing. They reviewed security tapes and discovered the work was taken in February. 

"We have the theft recorded on camera, so we have a good image of the person," said Madill. The tape has been passed on to the police. 

According to a release from the gallery, the work could be mistaken for a pre-Columbian artifact, that is, something created by the native peoples of America before Christopher Columbus made contact. 

"Because the artist has made these works, they often resemble that, there might be that possibility that this person may think it is," said Madill of the assumption. But she said that gallery staff don't know why the person took the artwork.

The gallery will not be reviewing their security procedures, however. 

"Our security procedures are fine. This happens, to even to the best of the institutions," said Madill. "It doesn't take very long in terms of a theft, it can be like four minutes or two minutes, if someone really wants to."

KWAG is asking gallery owners, art dealers, museums and the public to get in touch if they see or hear of anyone trying to sell the work.

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