2023 residency

The 2023 residency has been awarded to James Tapsell-Kururangi (Te Arawa, Tainui, Ngāti Porou) by Delfina Foundation and Metroland Cultures.  James is currently the project facilitator of Papatūnga, Te Tuhi’s programme for arts practitioners based at an urban marae in Howick, Tāmaki Makaurau. James developed the pilot programme for this in 2021, drawing on te ao Māori concepts of collectivity such as whakawhānaungatanga (establishing relationships with others), sharing of kai and kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face exchange), to facilitate the time he spent together with six artists. The result was the exhibition, Te Pō, at Parnell Project Space in November 2021.

At Wairau Māori Art Gallery in Whangarei, James recently co-curated, with Karl Chitham, the solo exhibition, Kei Muri Nga Mea I Te Rā, by Shane Cotton,one of New Zealand’s leading Māori artists. In the exhibition text, These Painted Histories Which Blossom In The Sun: A collection of thoughts on Shane Cotton’s exhibition Kei muri ngā mea i te rā, James traced the ontology of Light through the Māori stories of creation, and the Māori art histories of painting and colonisation. Following Te Pō, James curated Ata Koia! at Te Tuhi in Pakuranga, in February – May 2022.

James is also a practicing artist whose moving image works build from his family whakapapa, his geological ties to place, sites of significant histories and oral histories told to him by his family. Recent exhibitions include A portrait with my Father 2022 at City Gallery Wellington for the group show Matarua curated by Shannon Te Ao, and He Waiata Aroha, 2021 at Enjoy Contemporary Art Gallery.

Recent writings include In response to Thus the Blast Carried It, Into the World 它便随着爆破, 冲向了世界 by Qianye Lin and Qianhe ‘AL’ Lin, 2022, The Physics Room, and Gains, Grandmother, Grey Street, 2020 in “As needed, as possible: emerging discussions on art, labour and collaboration in Aotearoa.” Enjoy, in collaboration with GLORIA Books.

During his residency, James will spend part of each week working at Metroland Cultures and the rest of his time with six other artists / curators / writers in Delfina Foundation’s Spring Residencies, pursuing his own research. This programme will include guided visits to museums, galleries, non-profits, artist-run spaces and studios, as well as trips to institutions outside London; opportunities to meet and engage with artists, curators, academics and researchers through organised presentations, studio visits, events and meals; and professional development activities including presentations and crits, portfolio reviews, and mentoring activities.

While in London, he will continue to develop concepts for Papatūnga, learning from Metroland Cultures’ own artist support programmes, like Peer to Peer, and how they work within the Brent community. James will also spend time getting to know the artists in Metroland Studios with a view to future exchanges between artists in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“We are really excited to welcome James Tapsell-Kururangi to London in April, where he can learn from and likewise share knowledge to, the community of 7 co-resident artists and curators staying alongside him at Delfina Foundation.

We believe that Delfina as an institution, his co-residents, and the London arts community at large can truly benefit from the insights, experience and knowledge he has, in a practice which centres local Māori histories and Māori knowledge systems.”  Delfina Foundation

Lois Stonock, Founder and Director of Metroland Cultures, commented:  'We can’t wait to welcome James to Metroland Cultures - and to Brent - as part of his residency in London. The aim of Metroland is to celebrate and support the art and culture that’s being made here in Brent, and help people across the world to hear about it; so an exchange with New Zealand is a great opportunity to start making that happen. We’re very grateful to the British Council and Kent Gardner for their support to enable this work' 

Natasha Beckman, Director, British Council, Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific said “We look forward to following the outcomes of the experience James will have in London and the legacy of this on the wider visual arts community in Aotearoa. We also look forward to James sharing his unique perspective with his peers while in London. At this pivotal moment for galleries and museums in the UK, new voices are emerging to challenge traditional directions and explore how the sector engages with diverse communities and addresses the many challenges that face society today.”

An ArtNow.NZ essay / interview with Eliel Jones, curator of the 2022 Brent Biennial, a project of Metroland Cultures, can be read here.

About Metroland Cultures

Metroland Cultures is an arts charity based in and serving the London Borough of Brent. Metroland Cultures' vision is that Brent is known globally for its arts and culture, and its people and communities are recognised and celebrated for shaping it. Their mission is to build, share and support art and culture in Brent: supporting communities to amplify stories of Brent life, and working with artists to tell new stories.

Four building blocks inform our approach:

  1. We start with Brent people and celebrate what’s already here. Our work is grounded in the stories, needs and histories of people. We listen, learn and act with our community. A big part of Brent cultural life is people doing it for themselves. We find ways to support people who are doing this.
  2. We connect artists with communities. We bring artists and grassroots organisations together, to hold conversations about what the borough needs, and use art to make it happen.
  3. We stand for social justice. We make space for difficult conversations, and work towards dismantling inequality anywhere we find it including at Metroland. We want everyone to be able to access the culture we make.
  4. We’re on the side of the future. Brent has one of the youngest populations in London so our work has to equip young people with the skills and confidence that they have the right to make art and culture.

Our intention is for our programme to sit at the intersection of art and community, testing and pioneering new approaches that centre partnerships, strategies and approaches for community and artist collaboration. We do this through music and visual arts with: an annual festival, young people’s programme and artist development programme. At the heart of everything is a culture of learning, development and transparency with our constituencies.    

About Te Tuhi

Te Tuhi is a leading platform for contemporary art in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a programme consciously and continually shaped towards rigorous, adventurous, and socially engaged artistic experimentation. Alongside the gallery in Pakuranga, Te Tuhi studios offers artists spaces to work in Parnell, adjacent to the Parnell Project Space, an exhibition, performance and event space located on the platform at Parnell Station, Tāmaki Makaurau. Te Tuhi also works extensively with multiple communities in East Auckland.  Te Tuhi is pleased to be the New Zealand arts organisation instigating this new residency for a curator interested in how art can work outside of the traditional gallery setting and is extremely grateful to Kent Gardner and British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific for making it possible.

About British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific

British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. Through arts and culture, British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific works to connect the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and the UK. The Culture Connects programme links UK cultural professionals and organisations with their international peers and audiences. British Council are delighted to support a New Zealand curator as part of this unique residency, connecting with UK cultural professionals and helping to build curatorial capacity in the Aotearoa New Zealand visual arts sector.

About Kent Gardner

Kent Gardner is a philanthropist and businessmen and has spent over 20 years working between London and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.  He is passionate about art, education and sport and supporting New Zealanders and New Zealand causes.  He is Co-Chair of the Arts Foundation, Chair of Putahi Manawa – Healthy Hearts for Aotearoa New Zealand, CoRE and a former trustee of the Te Papa Foundation.  He is Co-Founder of Evans Randall Investors and Founder and CEO of Arc Residential and Chairman of Jasper.

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