Tim Melville representing Brett Graham

Auckland gallery adds sculptor Brett Graham to its roster.

Words: Yasmine Masi

Auckland gallery Tim Melville recently announced its latest artist representation, adding the philosophical installation artworks of Māori sculptor Brett Graham to its stable.

“Like most New Zealanders I’ve been looking at Brett Graham’s work for years,” says gallerist Tim Melville. “Brett’s engagement with indigenous histories, politics and philosophies is a natural fit for TMG, as our program pivots towards an increased engagement with Maori, Aboriginal and indigenous artists.”

The gallery notes the local sculptor’s engagement with and exploration of indigenous histories, policies and philosophies. Graham uses both his Māori ancestry and global travels as the major inspirations for his works. They represent the combined experiences of Indigenous people past and present around the world and question their relation to modernity. Working and residing in Auckland, Graham challenges our practices of memorialisation and privileging certain histories over others, by recalibrating traditional Māori carving techniques into stealth war machines and tanks. His artwork brings both the object and the viewer to a common ground, enabling a trifecta of aesthetic, personal and historical experiences.

“As a Maori gallerist, I know I can learn a lot from him,” says Melville.

Graham is currently working on his next major exhibition for New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, which will open in December 2020. His first solo exhibition for Tim Melville Gallery is planned to open in mid-2021.

Image: Brett Graham, ‘Foreshore Defender’, 2008. Screenprint on paper, 690 x 990mm. Courtesy: the artist and Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland.

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