Jacinda Ardern and the artwork she was gifted, kept in office throughout her time as prime minister

Jacinda Ardern is praised for displaying an artwork with a VERY touching backstory in her office throughout her five years as New Zealand PM

  • Jacinda Ardern praised for painting displayed in her office 
  • She was gifted the piece by Carmen Brown, a schizophrenic artist  
  • Ms Brown gave it to Ms Ardern in her first week of leadership in 2017  
  • The artwork has since been in Ms Ardern’s office for over five years 

Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been praised for using decoration by a schizophrenic artist throughout her time in office.

Ms Ardern was gifted the artwork while visiting a Christchurch art studio for the mentally ill in the week following her being elected the youngest ever female head of government in 2017.

The artwork, that depicts thousands of ladybirds, has since been a part of the background of numerous addresses from Ms Ardern’s desk.

Ms Ardern shocked the world on Thursday by resigning as Prime Minister after falling behind in polls in an election year, saying that she’s ‘got nothing left in the tank’.

An inspiring artwork (circled) that has consistently decorated outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office for over five years 'speaks to her character'

An inspiring artwork (circled) that has consistently decorated outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office for over five years ‘speaks to her character’

In 2017 the then-newly elected Prime Minister was greeted by ‘Jacindamania’ at an all-girls school before arriving at Ōtautahi Creative Spaces.

The art studio was created in 2015 following the Christchurch earthquakes to allow for those with mental illness’ to express themselves.

The artist behind the piece, Carmen Brown, suffers from schizophrenia and said that painting had helped her get through tough periods in her life.

Ms Brown was ecstatic to meet Ms Ardern and present her with the artwork.

Journalist Charlie Mitchell, who was one of the few reporters present at the studio that day , recounted the events on Twitter.

‘I can’t remember what they [Ms Brown and MsArdern] said – but I distinctly remember Ms Ardern’s face lighting up as she looked at it,’ Mr Mitchell wrote.

Ms Ardern was gifted the artwork by artist Carmen Brown (left) -who suffers from schizophrenia - in the week following her being elected as the youngest female head of government in 2017

Ms Ardern was gifted the artwork by artist Carmen Brown (left) -who suffers from schizophrenia – in the week following her being elected as the youngest female head of government in 2017

Ms Ardern said that the walls of her new office were barren, and that Ms Brown’s artwork would be the first to be put on display to remind her of the studio.

The artwork has been visible behind Ms Ardern while she gives addresses at her desk ever since, although not always in the same spot.

‘It’s just a small thing, but given everything that happened in the years after – much of it traumatic, toxic, chaotic – I was pleased to see that painting,’ Mr Mitchell wrote.

 ‘[It] meant a lot to its creator, meant something to its recipient, too.’ 

Ms Brown’s artwork has been accompanied by a portrait of Michael Joseph Savage, the head of the first Labor Government in New Zealand from 1935 until his death in 1940.

The artwork, that depicts thousands of ladybirds, has since been a part of the background of numerous addresses from Ms Ardern's desk

The artwork, that depicts thousands of ladybirds, has since been a part of the background of numerous addresses from Ms Ardern’s desk 

Twitter users swarmed on Mr Mitchell’s post, receiving over 28,000 likes and thousands of comments.

‘Reminds me of the saying that character is what one does when no one is watching,’ one commenter wrote.

Another wrote that ‘it absolutely reflects what I, from a fair distance in Sydney, think about Ms Ardern – genuine, compassionate, inclusive’.

But others disagreed, with one saying: ‘An appreciation for aesthetics doesn’t make her any less of a fascist tyrant’.

‘I was delighted when she got in. How deceived we were as to her true nature and motivations.’

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