Tell us what you do and why you do it.
I work with a very interesting group of people who communicate with the world in a visual manner. My job is to think, learn and ask questions about what they do in order to assist them in two ways: internally, to unpack and develop their practice; and externally – feeding and growing an appetite for the work by sharing it. I do it because it doesn’t feel like work.
Why did you start a gallery in Hamilton?
Kirikiriroa is the fourth biggest city in Aotearoa, followed by Tauranga. We are also the only city within the top five cities without a public art gallery. I’ve always found this sad, given the verve of Waikato residents for art. There was a lack of contemporary art being shown and the region lacked exposure to quality work from outside the city. These remain front of mind.
Are you a Waikato gallery or a gallery in the Waikato?
A gallery in the Waikato. Waikato hasn’t had a lot of exposure to boundary-pushing contemporary art, which means that audience development in the region is somewhat stunted. Fostering new audiences for contemporary art is an ongoing priority. The majority of the work I exhibit is not made by artists who live here. I’m interested in exposing my audience to great work by artists who are unfamiliar to them.
What does 2021 hold?
Highlights are our Auckland Art Fair presentation featuring Teelah George, Maioha Kara, Rachel Hope Peary and Chauncey Flay; Flagrant Gardens is an exhibition of new paintings by Laura Williams and ceramics by Madeleine Child (courtesy of Whitespace); as well as a photography exhibition by Whanganui-based artist, Tia Ranginui.
Tell us about He Taura Here
It features work by nine contemporary Māori artists – a result of excitement for Toi Tū Toi Ora at Auckland Art Gallery. Its kaupapa is two-fold: to extend the conversation beyond Tāmaki Makaurau, and to present emerging to mid-career artists who might be in a show such as Toi Tū Toi Ora in another 10 years.