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Metonymy 2010 – forging new creative connections

Metonymy 2010
More than 112 artists, performers and writers will take part in this year’s Metonymy project.


More than 112 artists, performers and writers will take part in this year’s Metonymy project. The successful artists, announced at the beginning of July, have been introduced to their creative ‘partners’ and are now developing their collaborations. 

The idea of a ‘creative blind date’ has sparked the imagination of artists in Auckland and beyond. Organisers Christian Jensen, Rosetta Allan, James Allan, Meng Koach and Renee Liang are excited at the quality and range of artists who are participating, among them such recognisable names as artist John Eaden, poets David Eggelton and Janet Charman, writer Siobhan Harvey, musicians Otis Mace and Karen Hunter, and comedian Philip Patston.

The pairings are diverse; actors are paired with composers, poets with object artists, sculptors with spoken word performers. Metonymy aims to increase links between creative disciplines by matching visual artists (the definition is broad) to literary artists. Over the next two months the 56 pairs will combine their talents in what is hoped will be a creative explosion. “The idea is that artists from different disciplines will spark off each other, making work that neither would otherwise have made,” organiser Christian Jensen said.

The results will be exhibited at Corbans Estate Arts Centre in Henderson from September 2nd to October 17th in a curated show along with a series of performance events. A panel of respected artists and writers – Sam Sampson, John Daly-Peoples, Riemke Ensing, Christine O’Brien and Simon Ingram will select the works for exhibition. There is no restriction on the range or form of the creative outputs – and the organisers are excited about the potential results.

“We’ve asked the artists to consider a range of genres – producing for example not only a visual work, but also a book or performance from the same idea,” organiser Renee Liang says. “They might even pick up new skills from each other!”

The organisers hope that some pairs will form lasting creative partnerships, as some in previous years have done.  They also hope that benefits will come from having so many creative practitioners from different disciplines interacting, forming a super-community of artists who work together.  ‘Meet and greet’ evenings are held during the collaboration period so that artists can meet others outside their pairing and chat about or troubleshoot their ideas and proposed projects.  Performance events (music, spoken word and devised theatre) during the six week exhibition period will also build a sense of creative community.

The project, now in its third successful year, looks set to continue. From being hosted at Cross St Studios in 2008, it made the big leap to the Aotea Centre in 2009 and is now making its Western debut at Corbans Estate Arts Centre (CEAC), where it will be featured as part of the annual Going West literary festival.

“It’s an old concept, but we believe that the more people work together, the stronger the community can be,” organiser Rosetta Allan says.  The organisers volunteer their time, and have worked hard to ensure that key sponsors are in place.  Metonymy has also received funding from Auckland City Council through its Creative Communities scheme.

Metonymy opens September 2 at CEAC and runs until October 16.  For an updated list of performance events and Meet and Greet evenings, see the website at, or email the organisers on

Written by

Renee Liang

21 Jul 2010

Renee is a writer who is exploring many ways of telling stories, including plays, short stories, poetry (which she also performs), and cross-genre collaborations with composers, musicians, sculptors and filmmakers.

Caroline Norman & fans at The Music Zoo, APO 4 Kids (supplied)
Tom Hamill talks to Renee Liang about getting in deep with the community.
Amber Curreen (Te Reo Māori team), Briar Collard (producer at Te Pou and representing team Pākeha), Edward Peni (Team Samoa) and Renee Liang (Team Canto) find some chairs.
Te Reo Māori, Samoan, and Cantonese
Body Double Production - Photo by Tabitha Arthur
Renee Liang reflects on some of the final offerings of the Auckland Arts Festival, along with the Festival’s future balancing delivery to audiences while nurturing the local arts ecosystem.
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium
Renee Liang responds to week two of the Auckland Arts Festival, including shows Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium and À Ố Làng Phố, then goes in search of the party.