James Tapsell-Kururangi 2023

James Tapsell-Kururangi is a Māori curator and artist, currently working as project facilitator of Papatūnga, Te Tuhi’s programme for arts practitioners based at an urban marae in Howick, Tāmaki Makaurau. Launched in 2023, Papatūnga is co-designed by participants to offer professional learning through artistic exchange and experimentation. 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 an exhibition, Te Pō, at Parnell Project Space in November 2021.

During his residency James spent two days 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. While in London, he continued 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 also spent time getting to know the artists in Metroland Studios with a view to future exchanges between artists in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Previously, James co-curated, with Karl Chitham, the solo exhibition, Kei Muri Nga Mea I Te Rā, by Shane Cotton, at Wairau Māori Art Gallery in Whangarei. 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 My Throat / A Shelter 2023, with Selina Ershadi at The Physics Room, Ōtautahi, 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.

Visit Delfina Foundation’s page about James Tapsell-Kururangi here 

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