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Everyday Fiction: Artists imagine the world at The Dowse

For immediate release: 14 January 2014

Everyday Fiction: Artists imagine the world this February at The Dowse Art Museum

What would you pack in an apocalypse toolkit? How would the heroes of Greek mythology fare in colonial New Zealand? A new exhibition at The Dowse brings together ten New Zealand artists' speculations on history, memory, and how we might live: right now, back then, and in the future.

Curated by 2013 Blumhardt Curatorial Intern Emma Ng, Everyday Fiction includes works of design, decorative art and contemporary art. DIY-style structures sit next to small, beautifully crafted objects, threaded together by an urge to make everyday life more thought-provoking.

Emma says, "I was interested in how we are always dreaming beyond the bounds of our own lives - venturing further and further in search of fresh starts and opportunities to reshape the way we live."

Auckland architect Sara Lee's collages imagine her grandparents' house in colonial Taiwan, and the domestic details that shaped their lives. Artist-designers SWAMP & Tiago Rorke use portable computing technologies to play on that ubiquitous 1990s toy, the tamagotchi. Their version tests our attachment to digital technologies, bringing together a living organism and a virtual pet.

Dunedin artist Bekah Carran welcomes visitors to the space with a contemplative installation inspired by philosophies that embrace simplicity, impermanence and imperfection. How might these philosophies sit amongst the chaos of throw-away culture and natural disasters? At the other end of the gallery Andy Irving & Keila Martin's Apocalypse Tent invites visitors inside to ponder a life of isolation and self-sufficiency, in a land made unfamiliar by some distant apocalypse.

Jeweller Kirsten Haydon explores an unfamiliar land of a different kind, inspired by a visit to Antarctica. Beautiful, icy and mysterious, her work imagines the form Antarctic souvenirs might take, channelling both the landscape and human histories of Antarctica.

New Zealand's own history is reimagined by printmaker Marian Maguire in three striking lithographs. She brings together the imagery and characters of Greek myth, colonial settlers and contemporaneous Maori to suggest new ways of telling the stories of New Zealand's settlement. New Zealand's formative years are also reworked in the intricate textile work of Wellington artist, Jo Torr. Exploring mutual cultural exchanges between Europe and Polynesia, Torr has crafted an exquisite set of 1770s-style European undergarments from tapa cloth, embroidered with New Zealand flora.

Emma Ng is the sixth recipient of the Blumhardt Foundation's Curatorial Internship, funded by Creative NZ. A legacy of New Zealand potter Dame Doreen Blumhardt's commitment to arts education, the internship provides a rare opportunity for an aspiring curator to develop their skills alongside professional museum staff, in a contemporary gallery setting. Emma has been working under the mentorship of Dowse Senior Curator, Emma Bugden.

Everyday Fiction
22 February - 25 May 2014
The Dowse Art Museum | FREE ENTRY


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