24 Jan 2020
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has expanded its curatorial team, appointing several new roles, including an Indigenous Curator of Contemporary Art.
The new curatorial team members: Megan Tamati-Quennell, Associate Indigenous Curator Contemporary Art; Hanahiva Rose, Assistant Curator Contemporary Art and Collections; Lisa Berndt, Curator Public Engagement; Elaine Rollins, Assistant Curator Public Engagement; and Emma Glucina, Curatorial Assistant, Len Lye.
Co-Directors/Chief Curators, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh say the dynamic team of curators brings new energy and expertise to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre team.
“The expanded team will be central to realising our commitment to Te Ao Māori and global indigenous practices, engagement with communities in Taranaki, and continued passion for our work with Len Lye.”
Megan Tamati-Quennell (Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu) joins the team in March as Associate Indigenous Curator Contemporary Art. For the next 18 months Megan will divide her time between the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington where she is Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori & Indigenous Art. Megan has specialist interests in the work of the post war (1945) first generation Māori artists, Mana wāhine; Māori women artists of the 1970s and 1980s, the ‘Māori Internationals’; the artists who developed with the advent of biculturalism, a postmodern construct peculiar to New Zealand and global Indigenous art with particular focus on modern and contemporary Indigenous art in Australia, Canada and the United States.
As Assistant Curator Contemporary Art and Collections, Hanahiva Rose (Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Toa) provides curatorial and organisational support for exhibitions; liaising with artists, curators and Govett-Brewster staff to achieve the exhibitions from concept to installation. She also assists with facilitating the public programmes that sit alongside the exhibitions. Previously Hanahiva has worked as an adviser at Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, as research assistant at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and as research assistant and curatorial intern on Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Hanahiva is regularly published nationally for her writing on Māori and Pacific art practices in Aotearoa.
Lisa Berndt takes up the new role of Curator Public Engagement, leading the reinvigorated public programme and the much-loved, extraordinary Govett-Brewster Education team. Lisa brings more than 10 years of experience working in government organisations. Most recently Lisa worked as the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s Business Development Lead. Prior to that she was the Head of Touring Exhibitions at ifa – the Institute for International Cultural Relations in Stuttgart/Germany, responsible for exhibition production and touring worldwide on behalf of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before then she was the Programme Coordinator at the Goethe-Institut in Wellington realising a myriad projects in cooperation with New Zealand cultural institutions.
Elaine Rollins takes up the new role of Assistant Curator Public Engagement. Elaine develops and delivers public programmes and nurtures gallery relationships with myriad community groups, exploring the best way to make exhibitions come alive and relevant –through artist talks, workshops, tours, and community conversations. Having worked at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery since 2015, Elaine brings more than a decade’s experience of community engagement in Aotearoa and San Francisco. Prior, she mostly worked in the national USA public television network using documentary film to explore social justice issues.
Emma Glucina joins the team as Curatorial Assistant Len Lye. Emma assists with the management of the Len Lye Foundation Collection and Archive. She also provides curatorial support for exhibitions, and contributes to the development and delivery of associated public programmes, including Sense Art, the Gallery's inclusive programme for visitors with accessibility needs. Emma comes from a museum and art gallery background and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from The University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts.
Paul Brobbel has been the Govett-Brewster’s Len Lye Curator since 2013, responsible for exhibitions, collection development, and scholarship around New Zealand's most internationally acclaimed artist. His writing on Len Lye is included in the recent publications ‘Len Lye: Motion Composer’ (Museum Tinguely) and ‘Keep it Moving’ (Getty Conservation Institute). He is the co-editor of the recent collection of essays, ‘The Long Dream of Waking’ (Canterbury University Press).
Image: (L-R) Megan Tamati-Quennell, Associate Indigenous Curator Contemporary Art; Hanahiva Rose, Assistant Curator Contemporary Art and Collections; Lisa Berndt, Curator Public Engagement; Elaine Rollins, Assistant Curator Public Engagement; Emma Glucina, Curatorial Assistant, Len Lye; and Paul Brobbel, Len Lye Curator.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific. The Govett-Brewster is also the global home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day.
The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.
The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre wing – New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist.
In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.
The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms.
Changing exhibitions three times a year, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre presents Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.
It also houses a state-of-the-art 60-seat cinema for visitors to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, cult, arthouse and experimental films, and regular festival programming.
The New Plymouth District Council (NDPC) owns and manages the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre on behalf of the residents of New Plymouth. NPDC works in partnership with the Govett-Brewster Foundation, and the Len Lye Foundation which owns and governs the Len Lye Collection and Archive housed at the Gallery.
About Len Lye
A visionary New Zealander, an inspirational artist, a pioneer of film; Len Lye is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand.
Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker, poet, painter, kinetic sculptor and creative visionary ahead of his time. Most of his works were so revolutionary that technology literally had to catch up to him – meaning much of Lye’s work was not realised in his own lifetime.
Lye’s iconic 45-metre kinetic sculpture Wind Wand sways gently on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway. The Wind Wand that glows red at night, is the first large outdoor sculpture to be built posthumously from his plans and drawings.
In 1977 Lye returned to his homeland to oversee the first New Zealand exhibition of his work at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He called it the “swingiest art gallery of the antipodes”.
Shortly before his death in 1980, Lye and his supporters established the Len Lye Foundation, to which he gifted his entire collection. His collection was gifted on the condition that a suitable and permanent home be created in which his works could be fully realised.