Set to return to Auckland’s The Cloud from the 2nd until the 5th of March, the Aotearoa Art Fair is promising to once again deliver some of the most interesting art and cultural events via galleries from across New Zealand and overseas, proving why it has become the pre-eminent event for art lovers and collectors. Importantly, beyond its cultural impact, the Fair has also become a crucial economic boost for New Zealand’s visual arts sector, with 2022’s sales totalling more than NZ$8,000,000, making it one of the country’s most significant generators of funds for art and artists.
This year, there will be 20 galleries from Auckland and eight others from across New Zealand setting up alongside 13 international galleries from the likes of Seoul, Jakarta, Sydney, Melbourne and more. Nine galleries will be participating in the Art Fair for the first time ever, including Season (Auckland), N Smith Gallery (Sydney) and ONE AND J. Gallery (Seoul). Alongside the return of the Fair’s sculpture space presented in partnership with Audi NZ, there will also be an area upstairs at The Cloud, dedicated to showcasing four young galleries from Australia – NAP Contemporary, Haydens, Savage Garden, and LAILA.
Among the pool of talent set to be on display at the Aotearoa Art Fair, there are already a few that we are picking as highlights, including Jhana Millers’ solo booth of large-scale textile works and paintings by emerging artist, Claudia Kogachi. Often using herself as the subject in her work, Kogachi creates pieces that touch on the personal and masterfully reframe everyday activities into situations that speak to relationship dynamics and emotional states. Another emerging entity to look out for is Season, a new Auckland gallery that will turn one during the Aotearoa Art Fair and will showcase paintings by Jade Townsend and paintings by Robyn Kahukiwa (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti), uku works by Maia McDonald (Te Āti Awa) and handcrafted furniture by Emile Drescher.
Elsewhere, Bartley & Company Art will be presenting a meticulously curated exhibition of four distinct artists whose works, while very different, engage with ideas of looking to the past in order to step into the future. Brett Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Tainui), Lonnie Hutchinson ((Ngāi Tahu) and Cora-Allan Lafaiki Twiss (Ngā Puhi, Tainui) and Roger Mortimer (Pāakehā) will, through their pieces, speak to the importance of history and whakapapa in creating contemporary meaning.
Scott Lawrie Gallery will present works by Stone Maka, a celebrated interdisciplinary artist of Tongan heritage( whose pieces have been exhibited at renowned galleries across New Zealand, Australia, Hawai’i and Tonga. He was also chosen as New Zealand’s representative to the 2020 Sydney. His work blends an innate curiosity with an exploratory approach to art-making, and highlights traditional methods such as the ‘royal’ black tapa and smoke. Elsewhere, Masterworks Gallery will showcase the work of mother-daughter duo Tui Emma Gillies & Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows. Their work elevates Ngatu (Tongan bark cloth) into a contemporary art context through their combination of traditional making methods with bright colours and illustrations that reflect the world today. Burrows and Gillies strive to utilise as many natural resources as they can in tandem with modern materials.
Artist Anoushka Akel will take centre stage at Michael Lett’s booth, with a series of her painting and printmaking works that engage with ideas of embodied knowledge, cognitive psychology, and aesthetics and philosophies of care. While at Gow Langsford Gallery, expect to find captivating new work by John Pule and Chris Heaphy.
As far as overseas talent, Sydney’s NASHA gallery will be showcasing three artists for the first time in New Zealand: Mark Maurangi Carrol (Cook Islands/Australia), Simone Griffin (First Nations/Australia) and Drew Connor Holland, while Michael Bugelli Gallery (Hobart) will present a solo booth of New Zealand-born, Sydney based artist Mike Hewson, renowned for his large-scale public interventions.
From South Korea, ONE AND J. Gallery, will present a solo booth of work by Ahnnlee Lee, with support from the Asia New Zealand Foundation. This nonbinary, queer Cantonese artist and researcher will showcase their interdisciplinary practice of ceramics, media and performance, which relies on a methodology of autobiographical re-making and research on the Cantonese diaspora.
Alongside the impressive line-up of galleries in the Aotearoa Art Fair’s main area and the outdoor sculpture space overlooking the Waitematā Harbour (presented in partnership with Audi NZ) there will also be a series of coinciding artist talks, an art bookshop, and pop-up cafés and bars from some of New Zealand’s favourite operators. It is the perfect event in which to immerse yourself in culture, learn something new or discover a piece to truly cherish.
So, with all of that in mind, we wanted to give one lucky Denizen (and a companion) the chance to experience this year’s Aotearoa Art Fair in the best way possible. We are giving away a two-night stay in a Laneway Room at the exquisite Hotel Britomart, a three-course lunch at lauded Auckland restaurant Ahi (the brainchild of celebrated Kiwi Chef, Ben Bayly) and a premiere pass to the Fair itself, which will give access to the VIP Preview at The Cloud on Thursday the 2nd of March from 2pm, plus return entry to the Fair during the open period, and access art events taking place around Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. To enter, fill out the form here or enter below.