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Gallery launches vibrant winter programme

Media Release

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery launches vibrant winter programme

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery's winter programme bursts into life this month with the launch of three exhibitions.

Lil' Mama's Art Klub Colour wheel 2008

Opening on May 31, the winter suite of exhibitions features one of Taranaki's most celebrated and influential artists, Don Driver; New Delhi-based independent filmmaker Amar Kanwar and a number of Māori and Pacific artists uniting to investigate contemporary Pacific art practices.

Don Driver: Banners marks the first major exhibition of Driver's work at the gallery since his 1999 retrospective, With Spirit.

Banners focuses solely on Driver's robust banner works - texturally rich collages that began in the 1970s and remain a vital part of the artist's practice today. His assemblages recycle and re-animate ordinary and discarded materials with wit and visual certitude.

Driver was a pioneer in the use of assemblage which has featured prominently in New Zealand art, experiencing a resurgence of popularity amongst contemporary artists in the past few years.

For the first time in New Zealand the gallery is proud to present the work of leading independent Indian filmmaker Amar Kanwar.

Amar Kanwar's poetic documentary films and video works primarily concern issues relating to politics, ecology, violence and sexuality associated with the South Asian subcontinent.

His films have been shown internationally in film festivals as well as exhibited in an art context in Europe, America and Asia. His work has been presented in important institutions such as MoMA, Whitechapel and featured in leading international events including Documenta XI (2002) and XII (2007) and the 2006 Biennale of Sydney.

A Season Outside, which won The Golden Conch award at the 5th Mumbai International Documentary Film Festival in 1998 and The Golden Gate award at the 42nd San Francisco International Film Festival in 1999, will be screened daily in the gallery's auditorium at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Curated by Mercedes Vicente, this exhibition brings a survey of Kanwar's most recent works including the Trilogy films, The Lightning Testimonies (2007) and his work in progress The Torn First Pages (2008). The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is the only venue in New Zealand to show Kanwar's work.

Closer to home a number of Pacific artists from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand explore recent developments in contemporary art of the Pacific, investigating how established and new generations of Maori and Pacific artists living in Aotearoa New Zealand respond to the complex interplays amongst customary practice, diasporic living and the poetics of daily life.

Dateline Return is the New Zealand response to the exhibition Dateline: Contemporary Art from the Pacific, a Govett-Brewster and NBK exhibition that toured Germany 2007-2008.

Featuring a diverse range of artists and practices that stretch across performance, photography, video, painting and dance, Dateline Return explores issues of knowledge exchange, relationships within communities and connections to land and sea. As it revisits the shifts over the past twenty years in how Māori and Pacific artists have defined and represented themselves, Dateline Return both celebrates and questions the significance of an artist's cultural affiliations.

Curated by Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport and Assistant Curator Melanie Oliver, Dateline Return includes Edith Amituanai, Louise Potiki Bryant, Shane Cotton, Lonnie Hutchinson, Shigeyuki Kihara, Andy Leleisi'uao, Li'l Mama's Art Klub, Janet Lilo, Vea Mafileo, Ani O'Neill, Fiona Pardington, Michael Parekowhai, Reuben Paterson, John Pule, Rachel Rakena, Lisa Reihana, Natalie Robertson, Greg Semu, Filipe Tohi, and Michel Tuffery. Amituanai and Reihana have both been nominated as finalists for the Walters Prize, New Zealand's most prestigious contemporary art award.

Don Driver: Banners
31 May - 31 August

Amar Kanwar
31 May - 31 August

Dateline Returns
1 May - 24 August


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