Rumpus presents three new commissions from Jordan Davey-Emms, Isabella Dampney and Samantha Cheng developed through their Play workshops.

The Play workshop series took place in the first half of 2023 and gave Davey-Emms, Dampney and Cheng the opportunity to think about play in their practices and led a participatory workshop or performance.

Davey-Emms led the alter-ego portrait workshop Headshot kitchen, Dampney invited participants to play the board game CA$HFLOW and Cheng asked people to make a temporary exhibition on a train from Newmarket to Mt Albert in Passengers.

The Play workshops invited the artists to engage audiences in playful artmaking, creating collaborative or performative environments for artistic research. In these workshops play was used as a tool to enable artists and participants the freedom to try new things without the same pressure or expectations for resolved outcomes. This generated a series of workshops full of surprises, laughter, encouragement and new perspectives.

In Rumpus each artist interprets and uses play in different ways as characterised in their play workshops; Davey-Emms through costuming and stage dressing, Dampney engages gameplay and storytelling and Cheng with performance highlighting the humor and failures of everyday life.

Rumpus concludes a collaborative inquiry into what is playful practice, showcasing three exciting, bold and comical commissions.

About the artists

Jordan Davey-Emms

Jordan Davey-Emms is an artist and curator who runs Wormhole in Edgecumbe, Whakatāne. She was a founding member of the Kauae Raro Research Collective (2020 - 2022) and the winner of the 2017 Glaister Ennor Award at Sanderson Contemporary Art. Jordan is interested in play, process, place, ecologies, and belonging. Her writing can be found in Plates Journal, Vernacular, and on Wormhole's website. 

Isabella Dampney

Isabella Dampney is a painter based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her oil paintings explore unmet expectations within social and familial environments through autofiction, absurdity and re-imaging. She recently completed a Master of Visual Arts at Auckland University of Technology, following a BFA (Hons) at the University of Auckland (2016). She has exhibited throughout Aotearoa, North America, and Australia, including at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Hot Lunch, Flux Factory NYC, and KNULP Sydney. 

Samantha Cheng

Samantha Cheng works across installation, sculpture and video to pursue purposelessness and seek out humourous encounters in art making. In her practice these are strategies to reconceive of failure as a generative space for making performative gestures that operate as an ongoing rehearsal for the real world. Previous exhibitions include Mass/Mess, 2023, Window; Interim Express, 2023, Oddly; and Surface Level with Hugo Primbs, 2022, RM Gallery. She is based in Tāmaki Makaurau and has a Master of Visual Arts (2021) from Auckland University of Technology.