Let’s all go to the Aotearoa Art Fair

The Aotearoa Art Fair is returning to the Cloud on Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s waterfront from March 2 to 5 (and we can get you discounted tickets! See below for details). With 27 galleries from around New Zealand and 13 international participants, there’ll be a wide range of work from both established and emerging artists. It’s not easy to whittle down, but here are our top five recommendations.

1. Jade Townsend, represented by Season, Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland

As co-director of Season (a gallery that’s new to the Fair this year), Jade will be showing a new series of paintings, The Multipliers, that present different cultural environments in flux, merging fact with fantasy. Hina, the Māori moon goddess, is an essential element in the series in which Jade explores scenes from her own life through the lens of Māori mythology. “Operating in this territory I am able, through paint and pictures, to be in an active conversation with the original dreamers —Robyn Kahukiwa, John Hovell, Pauline Yearbury and Sandy Adsett, to name but a few — while also contributing to the rich dialogue happening at this very moment in the arts,” she says.

Artworks by Jade Townsend, courtesy of the artist and Season. TOP Sister, Sister, 2022–23. Photography Sam Hartnett. MIDDLE Rowan’s Illuminating White Lace, 2022. MAIN IMAGE & ABOVE Blood Red Moon, 2022–23. Photography Sam Hartnett.

2. Claudia Kogachi, represented by Jhana Millers Gallery, Pōneke/Wellington

We’ve been fans of this multidisciplinary artist’s bold and cartoonish works for a while now, and can’t wait to catching her new collection of textile works presented in a solo booth in Jhana Millers Gallery’s space. Claudia’s uses personal relationships as a narrative in her work, placing people she knows into imagined environments or scenes referencing pop culture. Portraying her characters as flat figures within solid planes of colour, her art has a nostalgic playfulness to it, while depicting human interactions with a sense of honesty.

Rugs by Claudia Kogachi. FROM TOP Dolphins in Love, 2022; Spooky Castle, 2022.

3. Anoushka Akel, represented by Michael Lett, Tāmaki Makaurau /Auckland

Painter and printmaker Anoushka brings her canvases to life with layers pushed and pulled through staining, smudging, dry brushing and rubbing. The outcome sees luminous fields of colour marked by her hand via a varied kit of tools: cloth, sandpaper, the hard end of a paintbrush… “I want the works to burn slowly, to release their ideas over a longer period of time, as a counterbalance to the rapid consumption we’ve become so accustomed to in the age of the internet,” she says.

Artworks by Anoushka Akel, courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett. Photography Sam Hartnett. FROM TOP The Sea is Another Story, 2022; Gum Tongue Tooth I, 2023; Medieval Messaging, 2023.

4. Mark Maurangi Carrol, represented by Nasha, Sydney

Trained as a printmaker, but working primarily within the field of painting, Mark applies oil-based enamels and permanent marker to loomstate linen canvases. He experiments with chance-based methodologies to explore cultural memory through traditional methods of pāreu/sarong and tivaevae/quilt creation — a process he learned during visits to Rarotonga, where his mother was born.

Artworks by Mark Maurangi Carrol, courtesy of the artist and Nasha. FROM TOP Pony Bedroom, 2022; Statuette, 2022; Unicorn, 2022.

5. Ahnnlee Lee, represented by One and J, Seoul

Joining the Fair with support from the Asia New Zealand Foundation, this solo exhibition by non-binary, queer, Cantonese artist and researcher Ahnnlee Lee shares their interdisciplinary practice that combines ceramics, media and performance to explore their ancestral roots through autobiographical re-making and research on the Cantonese diaspora. A series of sculptural works will be shared at the Fair.

Works by Ahnnlee Lee. FROM TOP Share I -Inuit Suit, 2022; World Domestic Script Office, 2020; Feedback I, 2022; Wounded Face, 2020.

Check out the Aotearoa Art Fair schedule for the artist talks that are scheduled throughout the programme — they’re always such a good time — and don’t miss the outdoor sculpture space overlooking the harbour, either! Use the case-sensitive code HOMESTYLE20 at the link below to get 20% off all ticket types until midnight on Sunday, February 26. The Fair is also offering a donation add-on that allows you to give to those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle when you purchase tickets. For any amount of money donated, the Fair will match it dollar for dollar, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.

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