Introducing: Curators of Wellington

A rare window into the workings of  28 small galleries and creative spaces around the city. Curators of Wellington is a short film series presented by CubaDupa and ArtExplore, produced by Mark Amery for the Wellington Independent Arts Trust. In response to Covid-19 lockdown this began in 2020 as a series of dozens of interviews with galleries and their artists filmed and distributed via social media. You can view them here. With major funding from the Wellington City Council and galleries.

Curators of Wellington |Exhibitions Gallery Piera McArthur

Pip Adam meets the extraordinary painter Piera McArthur who at age 91, remains exuberant and unstoppable. They are joined by gallery director Ron Epskamp, who established Exhibitions in 2007. This is the latest episode of a conversation series with the small galleries, creative spaces and artists that make Wellington sing. Piera’s exhibition ‘The Death and Resurrection of Luigi Spinelli’ (and other stories…) is on until 24 October and was last shown in Moscow in 1989! It has quite the narrative.

Curators of Wellington |Vincents Art Workshops with Glen McDonald and Andrew Mitchell

In this episode of a conversation series with the small galleries, creative spaces and artists that make Wellington sing, Suzanne Tamaki visits the dynamic, remarkable art workshop Vincents in the Willis Street Village, which welcomes people from all sectors of society to express themselves. She catches up with director Glen McDonald and senior tutor Andrew Mitchell, introduced to the diverse facilities. Among the artists working, Dan Ross and Beth Mays, whose work is currently being exhibited.

Curators of Wellington |The Engine Room with Sian Stephens and Sabina Rizos-Shaw

In this episode of a conversation series with the small galleries, creative spaces and artists that make Wellington sing, Pip Adam visits the dynamic space The Engine Room up on Puke Ahu at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts. She meets artist and lecturer Richard Reddaway and ‘dons a cow’s udder’ with 2018 graduates Sian Stephens and Sabina Rizos-Shaw. Their exhibition How Now? is on until 16 October.

Curators of Wellington |Solander Gallery with Marci Tackett

In this episode, Mark Amery meets dealers Vincent Drane and Paulette Robinson from Solander Gallery on Willis Street. With a passion for printmaking, Solander is a rare fine arts enterprise; representing and advocating for a large community of contemporary artists who predominately work on paper. Mark also speaks to printmaker Marci Tackett whose exhibition Energy and Matter is on until 10 October.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 14 : Potocki Paterson with artist Shelley Masters

In episode #14, the final of a conversation series with galleries and artists that help make the Cuba Street area dynamic, Suzanne Tamaki meets dealer Dylan Potocki with his gallery upstairs on Dixon Street, and painter Shelley Masters whose exhibition The Distance Between Us is on until 1 September.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 13 : Roar! Gallery 

In episode #13 of a conversation series with galleries and artists that help make the Cuba Street area dynamic, Suzanne Tamaki heads to Left Bank off Cuba Mall to the fabulous Roar!, a not-for-profit exhibition space supporting artists from Pablos Art Studios with limited access to traditional dealer galleries. In the collective spirit of Pablos, Suzanne speaks to gallery manager Mel Upjohn, volunteer Jolyn Wills and artists Soraya Xe, Paul Holmes and Andrea Penrice about some of the work they produced during Lockdown. As Suzanne notes Roar! And Pablos are in fundraising mode for their crucial services. Visit! Support!

Curators of Cuba | Episode 12 :  Hunters and Collectors with Love My Leather Jacket

In episode #12 of a conversation series with galleries and artists that help make the Cuba Street area dynamic, Mark Amery heads to the iconic creative enterprise Hunters and Collectors, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary with an exhibition of works inspired by the leather jacket. Mark speaks to owner and curator Christina O and the curator of Love My Leather Jacket Bob Buck, with fellow artist Suzanne Tamaki. It’s on until August 3

Curators of Cuba | Episode 11 : Mossman Gallery with artist Séraphine Pick

In episode #11 of a conversation series with galleries and artists that help make the Cuba Street area dynamic, Pip Adam heads to Garrett Street to talk to Mossman Gallery director Danae Mossman and Wellington painter Séraphine Pick about her exhibition Sum of sound waves, on until 1 August.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 10 : Te Auaha with Olivia Kirikiri and artist Vernon Bowden

In episode #10 of a conversation series with galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street dynamic, Suzanne Tamaki talks to Te Auaha Gallery producer Olivia Kirikiri and artist Vernon Bowden having a great discussion about applied arts and his bold installation based jewellery show Geegaws which, thanks to lockdown, is enjoying a rather long run, closing 28 July.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 9 : Enjoy Contemporary Art Space with Georgette Brown

Episode #9 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Mark Amery talks to Director Sophie Davis and Associate Curator Simon Gennard about contemporary art space Enjoy, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Also, artist Georgette Brown talking about her work created during lockdown, part of Fire-Lit Kettle (on until 25 July), curated by Sophie, which we have lots of glimpses of.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 8 : Toi Pōneke with Eve Armstrong and Sian Torrington

In episode #8 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Mark Amery talks to artists Sian Torrington and Eve Armstrong, Senior Arts Advisor WCC about Toi Pōneke. Toi Pōneke has become an important space for exhibition, support and residence for Wellington artists since 2004. Sian Torrington introduces her exhibition I’m glad you’re here, just the way you are (on until 18 July) and her group Band Sensation’s performance 11 July, 2pm.

Curators of Cuba | Episode 7 : The See Here and French Art Shop

Episode #7 of a filmed conversation series with galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro dynamic, Suzanne Tamaki talks to artists Pam Brabants, Vivien Atkinson and Becky Bliss about one of Wellington’s most unique art spaces, The See Here. The See Here is a white rectangular box for exhibitions viewable from the street, currently at the French Art Shop 70 Ghuznee Street. Made up of a collective of Wellington based artists, The See Here is dedicated to producing work that engages with its physical parameters as a window gallery, the latest Becky Bliss’s ‘Play Fair’.

10 years old, this year this is The See Here’s third location, and it’s now looking for a fourth with The French Art Shop due to close this month. We speak to Kristine Garay about the store’s support of artists , the ‘zine dispensing machine’ Lucky Drop which opened in February and find out about the origins of the giant pen sculpture in the window..

Curators of Cuba | Episode 6 : Suite Gallery with Ans Westra

In episode #6 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Pip Adam talks to Craig Beardsworth of Suite Gallery and photographer Ans Westra (7.24min). Suite not only shows a wide range of contemporary artists it is home to the Westra archive and a museum dedicated to Ans work, including an impressive Cuba Street courtyard.

Curators of Cuba| Episode 5:  McLeavey Gallery with Darryn George

In episode #5 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Suzanne Tamaki talks to Grace Ridley-Smith and painter Darryn George (7.24min). McLeavey Gallery is something of an icon in Cuba Street, present here upstairs for 52 years, and Darruyn george has been showing with the gallery for more than 20 of those. Grace speaks about her connection to the gallery since childhood, and Darryn both his special relationship with the gallery and a bold change in his painting practice. His exhibition All Kinds of Trees runs until April 27.

Curators of Cuba| Episode 4:  Robert Heald Gallery with Richard Frater

When you visit or work in a gallery space, time can slow down. There’s often none of the ‘jump cut’ distraction with street traffic of a high street retail space. In episode #4 of Curators of Cuba we fall in line with that slowing down, with a look around Robert Heald Gallery. Mark Amery talks to gallerist Robert Heald who is celebrating 10 years in the Left Bank off Cuba Mall and recently moved into larger upstairs premises and we start with a look around Brittle Star an exhibition of the work of self taught artists James Castle, Susan Te Kahurangi King, and Melvin Way, curated by Richard Bryant. Then Mark talks to Richard Frater in Berlin (9.33min) about his exhibition What remains of a naturalist, on until June 20 2020.

Curators of Cuba| Episode 3: Kiwi Art House with Tatyana Kulida

In episode #3 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Pip Adam talks to Florence Academy-trained painter Tatyana Kulida and gallery owner Alan Aldridge. Kiwi Art House is based at the top of Cuba Street in a restored historic building that was once owned by Carmen and was home to Mr Smiles legendary junk shop. Tatyana speaks about painting at home during lockdown with light and the simple things around her. Her exhibition runs until Sunday April 28.

Curators of Cuba| Episode 2: Bartley + Company Art with Peter Trevelyan

In episode #2 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Mark Amery talks to artist Peter Trevelyan (8.45min in) and gallerist Alison Bartley. Bartley + Art Company is based in what was once a stables for the Gear Meat Company on Ghuznee just off Cuba, and now houses a stable of excellent artists. Peter Trevelyan speaks of his move into sustainability with plastics, working from Runanga on the West Coast and introduces exhibition Differentiate (until 20 June 2020).

 

Curators of Cuba | Episode 1 : Bowen Galleries with Shona Rapira-Davies

In episode #1 of a filmed conversation series with the galleries and artists that help make Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington area as dynamic as it is, Pip Adam talks to artist Shona Rapira-Davies and gallerists Jenny Nelligan and Penney Moir of Bowen Galleries. As Jenny and Shona relate, Bowen began with some good stories in Bowen Street itself back in 1981 and has been representing many fine artists since. Shona Rapira Davies speaks of her relationship to the gallery and introduces exhibition There are no bees in my garden (8 April – 14 June 2020).

The full series of 14 interviews with galleries and their artists is being filmed and distributed via social media over June and July. 

The programme has been presented with the assistance of Wellington Independent Arts Trust, with funding from Wellington City Council, ArtExplore and at least a dozen participating art spaces.

Curators of Cuba was due to be launched as part of the CubaDupa street festival as a weekend roving discussion series in late March. With the support of council and the trust, it has now been expanded as a documentary conversation project, available to all online.

From veteran galleries on the strip like McLeavey and Bowen Galleries, to newer-comers like Mossman and Robert Heald; from public spaces like Toi Pōneke to new art spaces in retail like Precinct35, the series explores the dynamic work being done by creative businesses. Artists include well-known names like Ans Westra, Dane Mitchell, Peter Trevelyan and Shona Rapira Davies, but equally introduce you to many newcomers. The conversations are led by writer Pip Adam, artist Suzanne Tamaki and curator and writer Mark Amery, with videography by Oscar Keys.

{Suite} Gallery Cuba Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cuba Street area is home to a large concentration of galleries, private and public,” says producer Mark Amery. “I often take ArtExplore tour groups to them, and many people are surprised they even exist. The public don’t always have the confidence to cross the threshold, or get the chance to appreciate what remarkable work these galleries do on behalf of our artists.

“Celebrating CubaDupa’s mission to connect up the streets with its people, with camera this series opens up the doors, in the hope you’ll return to visit them yourselves.”

The Curators of Cuba series will be rolled out via the CubaDupa and ArtExplore Facebook and Instagram feeds, and at the CubaDupa Youtube page.

For more information contact Mark Amery [email protected]