Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

New Zealand Special Exhibition 8th Beijing International Art Biennale National Art Museum of China, Beijing

Evan Woodruffe, April-June 2017, 9 panels each 100x100cm, Acrylic, fabric gold leaf, paper on Linen
Joshua Zong and Evan Woodruffe
For the very first time, New Zealand will be represented at the 8th Beijing International Art Biennale in China. Auckland-based Ai Gallery have secured the Special Exhibition of 21 NZ artists


The 8th Beijing International Art Biennale (BIAB) is themed "A Colourful World and a Shared Future", and will exhibit artworks from 100 countries to over 200,000 visitors. Held at the National Art Museum of China, this Biennale is established as a bridge for cultural exchanges, and for these international interactions to grow innovation in painting and sculpture; as well as expanding the reputation of Beijing as a global centre for culture.

China Artists Association, the official national association of Chinese artists, has accepted the submission from Ai Gallery for the first ever New Zealand Special Exhibition at the Beijing Biennale. Although NZ is one of a hundred participating countries, we have been selected as one of only six Special Exhibitions at the Biennale – a huge honour and very prestigious placement. This salient positioning guarantees the NZ presentation a high visibility and positive validation for the Chinese audience.

8th Beijing International Art Biennale

National Art Museum of China

Ai (Auckland International) Gallery

Ai Gallery is a recently established agency for cultural exchange between China and New Zealand, specifically for visual arts. Director Joshua Zong has over 20 years' experience in the Asian art market, and had galleries in Beijing and Tokyo, before moving to NZ. He sees the cultural melting pot of our visual arts as creating a new visual language that will be important for the Chinese audience. Co-Director Ling Zhao previously owned Moon Gallery in Auckland, through which she established an artist residency for NZ artists at Nongyuan Art Village in Chengdu. Previous residents include Nicky Foreman, Robin Ranga, and Myah Flynn. Ai Gallery reciprocates by hosting artists from China here, most recently professors from the Fine Arts faculty, Xi'an University. Joshua and Ling are assisted by Mia Xu, MA Curatorial Studies and a PhD candidate in Art History at University of Auckland. Ai Gallery’s fresh commitment to our visual arts has generated NZ’s first representation at the Beijing Biennale and establishes them as a determined promoter for China-New Zealand visual arts.

Ai Gallery
Ling Zhao +64 22 0873 355 386

Evan Woodruffe

Evan Woodruffe (b.1965) is an established artist with a proven exhibition and award history living and working in Auckland.

His participation at the 8th Beijing Biennale comes after six years of developing his overseas audience. Through his partnership with Gisborne-based gallery PAULNACHE, he has exhibited in Melbourne (2014, 2016), Sydney (2015, 2017, 2019), Beijing (2016), and Singapore (2018). Together, they have developed relationships with NZ and international brands to allow an expanded creative output and to promote NZ creative excellence to the world. These have included car marques BMW and Jaguar, NZ businesses Scapegrace Gin, Strangely Normal, and musician Estere.

Evan Woodruffe, April-June 2017, 9 panels each 100x100cm, Acrylic, fabric gold leaf, paper on linen

Evan will be travelling to Beijing for the opening of the Biennale, where he will be exhibiting two large multi-panelled paintings, and delivering a talk at the Beijing Biennale Seminar. To create a uniquely NZ air around their presence at the Biennale, Evan is innovatively partnering with NZ distillers Scapegrace Gin (Gold Medal, International Wine & Spirits London 2018), and fashion designers Strangely Normal to produce some of his signature clothing that merges art with fashion.

Evan is also showing new works at satellite events occurring around the Biennale, before travelling to exhibitions in Chengdu and Xi’an.

His work was selected by Joshua Zong, director of Ai Gallery, for is joyous qualities “something we Chinese, who are prone to melancholy, are badly in need of!” Joshua saw the colourful combination of American, European, Asian, and Oceanic influences that exist in the work as representing a dynamic that would invigorate the Chinese audience. New Zealand’s fresh multi- cultural approach could benefit the older established culture of China. Evan anticipates a reciprocal relationship, and looks forward to collaborative projects developing from this unique opportunity.

Evan Woodruffe

New Zealand Artists Represented at BIAB 2019

Dominique Baker

Philippa Blair

James Cann Boynton

Benjamin Buchanan

Josephine Cachemaille

Liam Downes

Vicky Gao

Dr Glen Hayward

Gabriel Heimler & Anna Proc Wairere

Tame Iti

Natasha Te Arahori Keating

Claudia Kogachi

James Jimmy Kouratoras

Kerry Ann Lee

Reagan Lee

Neal Palmer

Alvin Pankhurst

Peter Panyoczki

Tracey Tawhaio

Michael Tuffery

Evan Woodruffe

Joshua Zong and Evan Woodruffe

Contact details: 
Evan Woodruffe,

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

20 Jun 2019

The Big Idea Editor