CubaDupa announces a new Public Visual Arts Programme


CubaDupa 2020 is proud to announce an exciting public art programme occurring during the festival weekend. The programme includes four public art projects, which highlight experiences of NZ immigrant communities in their homelands, from across Asia, Africa and South America. This project is being delivered in partnership with Cuba businesses and galleries. Also within the public art programme is Curators of Cuba, with support from Art Explore. This is a roving discussion series involving the mavericks behind a dozen of Cuba Street’s galleries. 


“We wanted to open out the stories behind this diverse community’s music and dance through art,” says the curator of Letting Space Mark Amery. “As the tragic events in Christchurch last March made people understand, when we appreciate each others backgrounds we build a far richer more accepting contemporary culture. From Minerva bookshop to the iconic Hunters and Collectors, McLeavey Gallery to Bowen Galleries we wanted to introduce some remarkable creative business people, through art”.  


Curators of Cuba is a roving discussion series up and down stairs, to the exceptional, sometimes out of the way and unusual art spaces. “We wanted to welcome Cuba Street’s remarkable curators into the festival programme,” says Amery “to showcase the owners and artists incredible work, and to give them the recognition they deserve. From dealers who have been with us for decades like Bowen Galleries and McLeavey Gallery, special public spaces like Enjoy Contemporary Art Space and Roar to innovative micro galleries like The See Here, and The Nomadic Art Gallery, arriving on wheels specially for the festival. Spaces like these are a big part of what makes this area of Wellington special”.

Participatory installations are once again an integral part of the CubaDupa experience. Wellington will get their own iconic interactive piece of Kiwiana in the form of a giant Kiwifruit, produced by Barbarian Productions; Climb inside and discuss New Zealand’s future. Tape Art’s street installations will enliven walls and footpaths using their trademark live tape drawing. Other artists include the Shaky Ground Art Collective whose members come from Chile, Mexico and New Zealand, and Irish charcoal artist Barry “Jazz” Finnegan as well as a live UV installation from the surreal pop mind of Stephen Templer. 


Mulame sitting on couch


Lema Shamamba (Auckland/Democratic Republic of Congo)

Minerva, Cuba Street

Artist in residence at Minerva, Lema Shamamba, is a leader, educator, mother, storyteller and artist, originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In association with Auckland public gallery Objectspace, Shamamba will show her embroidered artworks depicting narratives of ongoing conflicts in the Congo. Lema will be joined for performances by musician Sam Manzanza.

In her West Auckland community of Rānui, Lema is known affectionately as ‘Mama Lema’, working closely with community development organisation, Rānui Action Project. She established Women of Hope, connecting migrant women together, and was recognised for her work in Women Kind: New Zealand Women Making a Difference.

Lema uses colour and imagery throughout her work and conflict over minerals is represented through metallic coloured forms, whilst characters illustrate the daily threat of being killed or raped by militia. In some works figures are shown attempting crossing the border. She also uses counter imagery as symbols of hope embodying her resilient stance: ‘the beauty of Congo can light up the whole world.’



Vicente | Trojan Horse Head

The Fluid Legalities inside the Altar of My Trojan Horse


Vicente E Ovalle (Auckland/Columbia)

Auckland based Colombian performance artist and sculptor Vicente Ovalle, a current Elam School of Fine Arts honours student, will lead the public in a performance which explores the real impact of the cocaine trade on communities in Columbia and make the public rethink the glamour of the drugs flooding our own shores. Ovalle is part of a Colombian community who came to New Zealand to escape the trouble in their homeland. Ovalle will be working in both public space, vacant space and outdoor gallery space over the weekend, to present a very different kind of ‘trojan horse’ inspired by a drug bust in Auckland in 2016. This installation is supported by Bartley and Company and CubaDupa. Bookings essential.



Glad We Did That - Elizabeth Pointon and Robbie Handcock

Glad We Did That at CubaDupa

Elisabeth Pointon and Robbie Handcock

Hunters and Collectors balcony, Cuba Street

Glad We Did That, presented by artists Elisabeth Pointon and Robbie Handcock, is an irreverent Wellington arts, culture and lifestyle vlog that provides a creative’s perspective on exhibitions, music, food and bars. With their CubaDupa headquarters high above Cuba Street on the verandah of Hunters and Collectors, Elizabeth and Robbie’s Glad We Did That will be hitting Cuba street to provide a behind the scenes look at the effort and people power that has gone into this vibrant festival.


Two people standing in front of mini-van gallery

Curators of Cuba

Join Mark Amery, Mary Jane Duffy and Pip Adam for a roving discussion series up and down stairs to the galleries of Cuba Street’s art tastemakers. Participate in lively conversations with the gallery directors and the artists they’re showing, providing a peek into the workings of the art world.  Brought to you in partnership with Art Explore and funding from the dozen participating galleries. Pop in, pop out – join for as many conversations as you like. Free entry. Bookings available here.

Participating are Bowen Galleries with artist Stephen Allwood, Bartley and Company with artist Andre Hemer, McLeavey Gallery with artist Christina Read, Mossman Gallery,  Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Robert Heald Gallery with artist Judy Millar, Potocki Paterson, The See Here, Precinct 35, Thistle Hall Gallery, Roar, the Nomadic Art Gallery and the Kiwi Art House.