New Zealand’s number-one showcase for contemporary art, Aotearoa Art Fair, is all set for 2022’s programme, which will see more than 40 local and Australian galleries present the work of 180-plus respected artists, and include artist talks, interactive workshops, outdoor sculpture, cocktails and then some in the heart of downtown Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. This year, there’s an addition to this line-up of very good stuff, He Iti, a section established to champion new galleries and artist-run spaces.
The name He Iti was gifted to the fair by Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne’s Hoea! Gallery & Project Space, an artist-run initiative created and curated by wahine Māori with a goal to uphold mātauranga Māori/Māori knowledge. Explaining the choice of name, Hoea!’s director Melanie Tangaere Baldwin says, “In what has the potential to be an overwhelming or intimidating environment for ourselves and other small or new galleries, we wanted the space to have a name that made us feel comforted, safe and acknowledged. ‘He iti’ refers to the whakataukī [proverb] ‘Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu’, which suggests that although something might seem small or insignificant, it may, in fact, be the greatest treasure. It speaks to inclusion and an altering of power dynamics.”
Along with artists repped by Hoea!, He Iti will exhibit work by talents from Tāmaki Makaurau’s Mothermother, Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s The Den and three young Melbourne galleries— Discordia, Futures and Haydens. See you there to soak it all up.
Aotearoa Art Fair was scheduled to run in March, but it’s now taking place from November 16-20 at The Cloud on Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s waterfront; look for He Iti on the mezzanine floor. artfair.co.nz