A new look for Auckland Art Fair

With a new name and program, the annual fair leads the way for change.

Words: Rose of Sharon Leake

Aotearoa Art Fair is the new name of the well-known and loved Auckland Art Fair. The change reflects the fair’s role as a platform and showcase for contemporary art from the wider Pacific Rim region, as experienced from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Aotearoa Art Fair is set to take place from 2 to 6 March 2022 but collectors and art enthusiasts need not wait until the new year for their art fix. Aotearoa Art Fair today announced TENT, Aotearoa’s newest art event which will feature a long weekend of pop-up exhibitions and events all around New Zealand. From 4 to 7 November 2021, the inaugural edition of TENT will showcase more than 30 galleries presenting IRL (in real life) exhibitions and events alongside online previews.

But why is it called TENT you ask? These IRL presentations by galleries can take place anywhere in the country – except in their own gallery space. In a statement released by Aotearoa Art Fair on TENT, they explain, “TENT pitching is what we do here.  Whether it’s Cook in the Coromandel whacking in a few poles and throwing an old sail over the telescope to protect his 1769 Transit of Mercury observation or the large marquee put up in 1840 on the front lawn of British Resident, James Busby’s Bay of Islands house, as crowds of local Māori and Pākehā gathered to discuss signing the Treaty of Waitangi, right from the get go, the relocatable, multi-purpose, often improvised tent has been that unassuming but practical structure able to accommodate us all.”

“Tents are a significant shape in our collective memory and myth. The pull of guy rope and snap of canvas sings to who we are and where we have been. From the conquest of Everest to the mud of Flanders, from protest embassy in the grounds of Parliament to pavilion at an agricultural machinery show, from Christmas holidays at the beach to character-building bush camps with the Girl Guides, from 21st birthday parties at the marae to cake stalls at the church fair, tents are about place. Our place. And the ordinary-extraordinary life, art and culture that goes on in and around them.” (TENT title concept and text by Mokopōpaki).

Stephanie Post and Hayley White, co-directors of TENT and the Aotearoa Art Fair conclude, “We are delighted to be launching a new art event across Aotearoa New Zealand. The enthusiasm which the galleries have shown for the idea is exciting and we look forward to announcing the locations of the exhibitions and the artists whose work will be shown, over the coming months.”

With participating galleries, artists, locations and events to be announced soon, organisers promise a full program, including a specially created online viewing room, curated walks, talks with artists and other special events.

For more information on TENT, head to its Instagram @aotearoaartfair

This article was originally published 2 July 2021.

Image: Aotearoa Art Fair. Courtesy: Luke Foley-Martin and the Aotearoa Art Fair, New Zealand.

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