My Art Collectors Series Panel Discussion: The Artist Has to Live Unlike Everybody Else


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The stereotype of the struggling creative is a pervasive one. But what is it actually like living – and trying to make a living – as an artist? During this panel discussion, four Tāmaki Makaurau artists will talk about their experiences, providing insight into the difficulties and delights of life in the art lane.

A range of subjects will be explored, including ways in which the art world has changed over time, making the transition from art school to the ‘real world’, working with dealers, setting up gallery spaces, and the hunt for public funding. Whether you are an aspiring artist, a new collector, or just curious to know how your favourite artworks get off the ground, this talk will be sure to give you plenty to think about.

Speakers: Emily Karaka, Louise Menzies, Jerome Ngan-Kee, and Ema Tavola. Chair: Francis McWhannell.

This panel discussion is part of our My Art Collectors Series.


Emily Karaka’s Coming through points towards the systemic gender bias against women in the New Zealand justice system. Emily is one of a number of Maori women who have fused the contemporary and the traditional to express her anger at the injustice of society. The alienation of Maori land in the past and in the present is the battle that Emily has taken up fiercely. Her work is often raw and confrontational to express these politics.

Francis McWhannell is an independent writer and curator. He has written for various arts and culture magazines and websites, including Art News New Zealand, Art New Zealand, the Pantograph Punch, and the Spinoff. He recently curated Projects 2019: Whanaungatanga at the Auckland Art Fair.

Louise Menzies’ cross-media practice often includes a range of materials presented within installed environments, as well as the use of other public platforms beyond that of the exhibition. Individual works respond to particular artefacts and histories that explore past and present. Recent exhibitions and screenings include In an Orange my mother was eating, Hocken Gallery, Dunedin (2019), Gorgon Malkin Witch, Te Uru, Auckland (2017) and Primordial Saber Tararear Proverbiales Sílabas Tonificantes …, Regen Projects, L.A. (2017). In 2018 Louise was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago, following residencies in Auckland, the U.S., Australia and Mexico.

Jerome Ngan-Kee (b. 1993) helps run the gallery 'Mercy Pictures'. 

Ema Tavola is Director of Vunilagi Vou, a South Auckland-based gallery, community and consultancy that centralises contemporary Pacific art and audiences. Tavola is committed to curating as a mechanism for social inclusion, centralising Pacific ways of seeing, and exhibition making as a mode of decolonisation.

Image credits:
Emily Karaka, Coming through, 1983, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1983; Photograph of Ema Tavola by Pati Solomona Tyrell.

Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium
FREE for Members, $7.50 for non-Members
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