Wednesday October 17, 2012
RM65mil art in danger
Reports by JOSEPH KAOS JR, LOSHANA K.SHAGAR and EILEEN NG
SOME 4,000 pieces of art worth RM65mil are currently exposed to leaks and water-based fire extinguishers and need enhanced protection to ensure that they are not damaged.
Called the Permanent Collection, the paintings, sketches, photographs, sculptures and other objects are mostly gifts from corporate figures, collectors, embassies and artists' associations.
The Auditor-General's report noted that the building housing the collection also had some emergency exit routes hindered by objects, while the CCTV had unclear recordings and no night vision features.
It recommended improvements to security features, such as a very early smoke detection apparatus.
In response, National Visual Arts Development Board said repair works on its roof was 96% completed in August, and it would apply to the Finance Ministry for funds to get a dry fire extinguishing system.
Night vision features would also be placed on the cameras and it would ensure that emergency exits are not blocked.
Besides limited space, the Permanent Collection is also plagued by fungal growth because of poor maintenance of the building's humidifier and temperature control.
The report suggested covering the wall with panels made of suitable wood to combat the problem.
Another weakness was the late renewal of the insurance policy which left the collection at risk of fire, theft and loss.
In reply, the board said it had appointed an insurance company for a year and would have a computerised alert system to warn of the policy's expiry date, adding that budget allocations had been made for better arrangement of the collection.