Once more, Covid has arrived right at arts festival season, but one part of the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts that is largely proceeding is its visual arts component. A few years ago, this side of the festival went for a theme: first ceramics, then portraiture, and now, ta-da, textiles, presented as the Threads Festival. And it looks to be a ripper, with dealer galleries and popups in retail hosting a delicious range of work from the country’s hottest textile talent.
There’s Areez Katki at McLeavey Gallery. Jhana Millers is winding down after a month of Erica van Zon and Caroline McQuarrie. Cora-Allan Wickliffe’s hiapo is gracing Bartley & Company Art. Page Galleries is showing Heidi Brickell, Vita Cochran, Finn Ferrier, Serene Hodgman, Fiona Jack and Kathryn Tsui. At Bowen Galleries, Terri Te Tau and Matthew McIntyre Wilson. And then some. Around the shops, you’ll find Arielle Walker at Twenty Seven Names and Josephine Cachemaille at The Service Depot.
Most of these exhibitions are short-run, and will end with the three days of the Threads Festival, as does the Eden Hore exhibition at the Dowse, wrapping up 20 March. Sadly, the programme of public talks has been curtailed, which includes a final curator’s talk for Eden Hore. But some will be back: the one day symposium which was initially moved online has merely been put on hold until a later date. (“We have no intention of cancelling this event and will be back with a new date soon”: fighting talk.)
And as one door closes at the Dowse, the Petone Settlers Museum opens She Shed: Contemporary Wool Craft, 2021 Blumhardt curator, Dr Bronwyn Lloyd’s “dream space of wool craft”. This one includes work by seven contemporary craft makers whose work is noted for its base of traditional craft skills: Vita Cochran, Lizzy Leckie, Caroline McQuarrie, Rona Ngahuia Osborne, Steven Junil Park, Daegan Wells, and Georgina May Young. As this exhibition runs until October, there will be more events associated with it, once events are back on track. Keep an eye on the Dowse website for updates.
If you’re in Wellington and get the chance, check out some of these exhibitions; if not, do visit their website, because the organisers of this festival have done a wonderful job highlighting just how much talent there is in this medium at the moment.
And for an artist interview, Standing Room Only talks to Kathryn Tsui about her work in the festival: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/standing-room-only/audio/2018834005/turning-plastic-carrier-bags-into-art