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Introducing Face to Face: Portrait Festival

Wellington dealer gallerists join together in unique collaboration, photo by Johnny Hendrikus courtesy of Wellington NZ
Hypertrophic 2, 2020, by Yvonne Todd, courtesy of the artist and McLeavey Gallery
Mum (May 1985), 2020, by Ayesha Gree, courtesy of the artist and Jhana Millers Gallery
Nine Wellington dealer galleries and six public galleries have joined together in a unique collaboration to establish a new visual arts festival celebrating New Zealand portraiture past and present.

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Nine Wellington dealer galleries and six public galleries have joined together in a unique collaboration to establish a new visual arts festival celebrating New Zealand portraiture past and present. Taking place over four days, 27-30 May 2021, Face to Face: Portrait Festival will bring together some of Aoetearoa’s most celebrated artists – including Billy Apple, Yvonne Todd and Star Gossage – with early and mid-career artists Ayesha Green, Sam Mitchell, Claudia Kogachi and others.

Through a programme of free exhibitions, collection tours, talks, studio visits and performances the public will be able to go behind the scenes, meet with artists and curators and discover galleries, that – despite long histories, dating back more than 20 years – they might not have visited before.

A highlight of the Festival is a Late Night event on Saturday 29 May. Taking cues from international events such as Art Night in London, the dealer galleries will stay open late (5-9pm) and host performances by an exciting line-up of Wellington’s best musicians and performers. Programmed by the award-winning team behind CubaDupa, the performances – curated to reflect the individual exhibitions – are a collaborative initiative to foster stronger links across Aoetearoa’s creative community. Armed with a map and a schedule of performances the public will be able to walk freely between the galleries experiencing something new at each one.

Face to Face coincides with the New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s inaugural Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award, which encourages emerging Māori artists to create portraits of their tūpuna (ancestors), and includes programming dedicated to investigating Māori portraiture traditions – both historical and contemporary.

Established by a coalition of Wellington dealer gallerists, Face to Face presents a new, collaborative format with exhibitions and events spanning dealer and public galleries. Breaking away from the established format of biennales, triennales and art fairs, which necessitate large crowds, Face to Face proposes a decentralized, cellular model with events taking place across the city.

The format allows for interactions and meetings on a smaller scale at numerous venues – a flexible, innovative post-COVID response, which could be scaled up or down for future cultural events and used as a vital tool in Wellington retaining its status as Cultural Capital.

Website: www.portraitfestival.co.nz

Instagram: @portraitfestival.wlg

Facebook: @PortraitFestival

Exhibitions

Exhibiting artists include Arie Hellendoorn, Angela Singer, Ayesha Green, Billy Apple, Christine Thacker, Claudia Kogachi, Hariata Ropata Tangahoe, Hiria Anderson, Joanna Braithwaite, John Pusateri, Hannah Ireland, Laura Williams, Robbie Motion, Sam Mitchell, Scott McFarlane, Simon Attwooll, Star Gossage, Yvonne Todd and more.

Galleries:

Dealer galleries

  • AVID Gallery
  • Bartley & Company Art
  • Bowen Galleries
  • Hamish McKay Gallery
  • Jhana Millers Gallery
  • McLeavey Gallery
  • Page Galleries
  • {Suite}
  • Solander Gallery

Public galleries

  • Adam Art Gallery
  • City Gallery Wellington
  • The Dowse Art Museum
  • Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Toi Maori Aotearoa