Breaking Bad!

A mural of Jacinda Ardern following the Christchurch mosque attacks in Melbourne, Australia.
the first ever Rip It Up cover, June 1977
George Johnston, 'Mindfulness Listening' sourced with permission from Facebook
Dr Roger Blackley in his home 2019 , via Auckland Art Gallery
Waterfall in Dusky Bay with Maori canoe. 1775, Oil on Panel. Purchased 2019 with partial funding by the lottery grants board from the Tuia Encounters 250 Fund. Courtesy of Te Papa
Pua Magasiva
Kate Powell rounds up breaking stories in the arts media in Lowdown #46


Breaking research on something that needs fixing

In breaking news, that perhaps surprises no one, research shows that making a living through art is tough. The findings from Creative New Zealand and New Zealand on Air is the first step to addressing low pay across the arts sector. A Profile of Creative Professionals interviewed close to 1500 people, who laid bare the realities of working in the arts currently. Only 23% of creative professionals feel that they are comfortable financially, however, they are a highly committed lot, with only 3% saying they will leave the sector in five years. The full report, including announcements from both agencies on joint priorities, is available on The Big Idea website. If you want your views heard go ahead express your thoughts. CNZ and NZ on Air are calling for feedback.  

Jacinda’s Melbourne Controversy

The decision to turn a powerful image of Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim woman following the Christchurch terrorist attack into a mural in Melbourne is proving controversial. The work by street artist Loretta Lizzio has almost been completed on North Melbourne’s Tinning Street silos. Lizzio has donated her time “to paint an image of unity, an image of hope. “But it hasn’t stopped nearly 15,000 people signing Gallery of South Australia petition against having the mural painted “because it has nothing to do with Melbourne or Australia.” However, the piece was approved by both the council and silo owner, who is Muslim, with locals raising more than $11,750 to have Lizzio paint the work. The image has been used around the world to praise Ardern’s compassionate response to the white supremacist attacks.


Arohanui to a much-loved leader in NZ’s art world

The art world and its students are mourning the loss of noted art historian, curator, writer and teacher Roger Blackley. His work offered new insights into the way the likes of Goldie and Lindauer worked in partnership with Māori. Roger’s Goldie exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery broke records. His last book, Galleries of Māoriland argued that Māori had a stake in the process of romanticisation and was shortlisted for an Ockham NZ Book Award. The Auckland Art Gallery wrote that “all of his texts are widely regarded as some of the most important and influential texts in New Zealand’s Art History.” Aside from his towering intellect and sparkling wit, Roger made a name for himself amongst thousands of Victoria University students- including myself- for his generosity, kindness and sensational scones. He will be greatly missed. Arohanui to his loved ones.

Dr Roger Blackley in his home 2019, via Auckland Art Gallery's Instagram


Te Papa’s latest acquisition not seen in public for over 200 years

An extremely rare William Hodges work Waterfall in Dusky Bay with Maori Canoe has been brought by Te Papa for New Zealand’s national art collection. The piece has spent the last 200 years in a private collection. Hodges is widely regarded as the most significant British artist to visit New Zealand in the 18th century. Curator Historical New Zealand Art, Dr Rebecca Rice, says “this work is the earliest painting of a New Zealand subject in Te Papa’s collections, and is of national significance....“This magnificent work by Hodges references the first meaningful encounter between Europeans and Southern Māori – an important moment in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.” After 240 years, the painting is set to reacquaint itself with the New Zealand public later this years as part of Tuia – Encounters 250.

William HodgesWaterfall in Dusky Bay with Maori canoe, 1775, Oil on Panel.
Purchased 2019 with partial funding by the lottery grants board from the Tuia Encounters 250 Fund. Courtesy of Te Papa


Remembering Pua

The recent death of Pua Magasiva sent shock waves through New Zealand’s acting and radio community. After cutting his teeth on Shortland Street, Magasiva also starred in Sione's Wedding and Power Rangers before landing a spot as a DJ for Flava FM. He was laid to rest in a private service over the weekend. His Shortland St co-star Sally Martin penned a heartfelt tribute to him. Condolences to his aiga.

Pua Magasiva


$20k up for grabs

Visual artists are encouraged to pick up their paint brushes with the announcement that submissions for The Adam Portraiture Award 2020 are now open. Presented by The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, it is one of New Zealand’s longest running art prizes. The winner receives $20,000 cash courtesy of The Adam Foundation, national recognition and regular tours of the country. Those looking to submit pieces must be a New Zealand resident or citizen painting a New Zealand resident or citizen subject. For the first time ever, a local judge will be joining the international judge to jointly decide on the finalists and winners. The international judge for 2020 is Karen Quinlan, Director National Portrait Gallery of Australia who will be joined by Dr Lara Strongman, Chief Curator Christchurch Art Gallery. Entries close 4pm, 6 December, with the winner being announced on 26 February 2020.


Indigenous knowledge headlining conference

Museums Aotearoa have announced the keynote speakers for the upcoming Museums Aotearoa 2019 Conference (MA19). Curating Indigenous Art, repatriation and biculturalism are at the heart of this year’s conference. To reflect this, Jaimie Isaac, curator of Indigenous & Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada, and Nici Cumpston, an artist, curator, writer and educator who works as Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at Art Gallery of South Australia will be presenting a session entitled Curating from Indigenous Frameworks.


Old rockers never die

Rip It Up magazine has a place in the hearts of generations of New Zealand music fans, leaving a gaping hole in music journalism with the publication of its last issue in 2015. Since its archives were sold to Simon Grigg the mastermind behind Propellor Records and Audioculture, he has worked hard to ensure the words and stories are not lost. Now, the first 101 issues of Rip It Up have been added to the free online archive Papers Past. To celebrate, esteemed music writer Gareth Shute had a chat to Rip It Up creator Murray Cammick as well as a highlights reel by Simon Grigg and Chris Bourke.

The first ever Rip It Up cover, June 1977


Wellbeing movement grows  

Creative New Zealand has applauded the return of a wellbeing focus for local governments with the Local Government (Community Wellbeing) Bill. This shift means that Councils will have a legislative responsibility to promote cultural well being. The connection between well being and artistic endeavours is growing stronger by the day. Most recently, writer Ari Potter penned an engagingly heartfelt piece called Spending time with art really helps my mental health on its darker days. Closer to home, Wellingtonians can explore wellbeing courtesy of composer, music therapist, poet and mindfulness instructor George Johnston. He will be hosting a mindfulness listening event at Raglan Roast on May 26th. Details are available on his Facebook page.

George Johnston, 'Mindfulness Listening', via Facebook


Art Collector on a Budget

It’s a long-standing myth that you need deep pockets to begin collecting art. But a useful article recently published in Stuff entitled Where to start in Art when you don’t have a fortune to spend goes a long way to debunk these. The piece references My Art, an art layby scheme that advances an interest-free loan up to $50,000 to fund a purchase (but you’ll need a 10% deposit) as one option to buy art. While Warwick Brown, art collector extraordinaire advocates for “self-education” a sentiment echoed by Linda Tyler who has managed both the University of Auckland and Otago Art collections. She also recommends attending student art exhibitions. Often held at the end of the academic year, it’s a good opportunity to nab work by artists before they have a dealer. “Once people go into the professional art market, the dealer adds 40 per cent onto the price," Tyler says.”

Written by

Kate Powell

21 May 2019

Kate is a cultural critic, curator and gallery essayist. She has held a variety of community-art focussed roles as a social media strategist, artist liaison, artistic director, and publicist. 

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Pricey produce, a massive mural and more in this week’s round-up of arts news from NZ and around the globe.