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Launching in Auckland: a new publication Uneven Bodies (reader)

Image courtesy of Hayley Bethell
Ruth Buchanan The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong, 2019, installation view Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Photo Sam Hartnett
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s new publication, Uneven Bodies (reader), will be launched at Samoa House Library in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland on Saturday 7 August from 2 - 4pm.


Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s new publication, Uneven Bodies (reader), will be launched at Samoa House Library in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland on Saturday 7 August from 2 - 4pm. The publication launch will include a panel discussion with guest speakers Olyvia Hong, Lana Lopesi, Megan Tamati-Quennell and facilitated by Hanahiva Rose. All are welcome to attend the free launch event.

Uneven Bodies (Reader) is a comprehensive collection of original research and new writing produced as an outcome of a symposium of the same name held in Aotearoa / New Zealand in early 2020. Initiated by artist Ruth Buchanan and accompanying the exhibition she curated, The Scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong, the texts investigate the politics around custodianship of institutional art collections today and ways contexts requiring decolonisation and partnerships are being addressed.

The commissioned writing places specific emphasis on Indigenous positions, offering insights into local examples and thinking and placing these in an international conversation. Topics covered include collecting contemporary art both inside and outside the institution, repatriation, experiences of deaccession, and insights into Indigenous methodology in collection work. With keynote contributions from Prof Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Gabi Ngcobo, Dr. Clémentine Deliss, Wanda Nanibush and nine respected local thinkers, the Reader conveys the breadth of current discourse around Indigenous art in collections, the risks in deaccessioning and ways that communities can gain agency over culture managed by institutions. Reflections on alternative archives also offer examples of distinct forms and modes of access.

The range of contributors bring rigour and important voices to discussion and debate about the future of cultural collections. Uneven Bodies (Reader) inserts new discussion in this dynamic field, raising awareness of issues and questions to be addressed and bringing forward powerful ideas for change that can start to  be made by thinkers, institutions and artists together.

About the panellists:

Olyvia Hong graduated with an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2019. Her recent contributions to group shows include May Fair Art Fair 2020 and The River Remains; Ake Tonu Atu (Artspace, 2018). Hong has been an organiser at Samoa House Library since its founding in 2018.

Lana Lopesi is an author, art critic, editor and multidisciplinary researcher. Currently Editor-in-Chief for the Creative New Zealand Pacific Art Legacy Project, Lopesi was The Pantograph Punch Editor-in-Chief from 2017 to 2019, and is currently Kaitohu Taupua/Interim Director.

Megan Tamati-Quennell (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is a leading curator of contemporary Māori & Indigenous art. Her current roles are as both Associate Indigenous Curator, Contemporary Art/Kairauhī Taketake Toi Onāianei at the Govett Brewster, and Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori & Indigenous Art at Te Papa Tongarewa.

Hanahiva Rose is currently Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Collections at Te Papa Tongarewa, and formerly at the Govett-Brewster. She is regularly published nationally for her writing on Māori and Pacific art practices in Aotearoa.

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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

29 Jul 2021

Interests The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand's premier contemporary art museum and home to the collection of modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye. Admission is free.