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Blumhardt Foundation - Curatorial Internet 2008-09

Creative New Zealand - Blumhardt Foundation - Curatorial Internet 2008-09

Reuben Friend has been awarded the Creative New Zealand-Blumhardt Foundation Curatorial Internship for 2008-09.

Based at TheNewDowse in Lower Hutt the internship provides an important opportunity for an emerging curator or artist to develop curatorial skills and experience on an exhibition project focusing on the decorative arts and design.

“This internship is an amazing opportunity for me to develop my curatorial skills under the guidance of experienced mentors,” says Reuben.

“Opportunities like this internship are essential to nurture and challenge the next generation of New Zealand curators. This internship will complement and enhance my current study and work in Māori decorative art and design – which I believe has huge potential in terms of the way it is displayed and interpreted in museums and art galleries.”

Reuben is of Pakeha and Ngati Maniapoto descent (Tainui), and currently resides in the Wairarapa. He has a Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts and Design from Te Wananga o Aotearoa and is completing a Masters in Māori Visual Arts at Massey University.

A burgeoning painter, Reuben has exhibited in international and national group shows. He has been involved with the establishment of the Toi Wairarapa – Arts, Culture and Heritage Trust which is responsible for identifying and developing new initiatives, and implementing a range of programmes and community events in the Wairarapa region. He has worked as a contract Curator of Art for Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt; and as a contract Exhibition Installation Technician at TheNewDowse and for Te Manawa Life Art Mind.

Reuben’s broad artistic interest is in traditional and contemporary Māori art and design. Through his studies and curatorial work he has developed a focus on challenging the perceptions and presentation of Taonga Māori, and has worked with Conservator Detlef Klein and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to gain a greater understanding in this area of specialization.

Reuben’s exhibition fulfilling the Creative New Zealand-Blumhardt Foundation Curatorial Internship will open in the Blumhardt Gallery at TheNewDowse in early 2009. The Blumhardt Gallery opened in February 2007 as a showcase dedicated to the decorative arts and design, and as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Dr Doreen Blumhardt.

The Blumhardt Foundation was formed in 2003 by Dr Doreen Blumhardt to realise her desire to use her collection and estate for furthering the development of the decorative arts and design in New Zealand. Dr Blumhardt is one of New Zealand’s foremost potters, having worked as a ceramicist and arts educator for over 70 years. In 2006 she was appointed New Zealand’s highest accolade, The Order of New Zealand.

The Blumhardt Foundation instigates and oversees a range of projects to nurture, support, collect and display the best of the decorative arts and designs in New Zealand. To assist with realising its aims, the Foundation has embarked upon a fundraising programme to build a strong base for its projects and has established some key alliances:

– with Creative New Zealand and TheNewDowse for the Curatorial Internship, providing an important professional development opportunity for New Zealand curators;
– with the National Library of New Zealand which has created the Blumhardt Collection for the papers, letters and archives of those involved in New Zealand decorative arts and design;
– with the Otago Polytechnic School of Art which hosts this country’s leading specialised course in ceramic arts at tertiary level. In 2008 the first Blumhardt Scholarship has been awarded to the programme’s most upcoming ceramic artist, Brian Wood.


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