Tag Archives: Art

AWA17: 5 mins with Erin Forsyth

Artist and illustrator, Erin Forsyth draws inspiration from the nature that surrounds us in her latest work.  Carefully researched over 18 months; Erin illustrates key characteristics of threatened species of land and forest, the ecological relationships sustaining them and which, in turn, they sustain.  Check it out this Artweek Auckland.

Describe your piece of work / installation in three words

Flora, fauna, taonga

What inspired it?

Rediscovering the link between cultural and biological diversity, or people and the natural environment. Each work illustrates key characteristics of rare and beautiful endemic species, the key ecological relationships that sustain them and which, in turn, they sustain.

What’s your creative process?

This particular series is research based. So before I begin a piece I will spend some time accessing and compiling information about a species or genus, and looking for strong reference images to work from. Often species are so rare that there are limited images available so I will use any number of photographs and information from my readings to work out the anatomical structure. I am learning as I paint and draw, not just about the species but about human impact, responsibility and relationships to them. The natural environment of Aotearoa, New Zealand holds so many remarkable creatures found nowhere else on earth and although I have heard that all my life I am just now beginning to understand how special it is and how important it is for all of us to treasure it. It truly is taonga and it seems urgent that the principles of kaitiakitanga, developed over centuries are understood and applied for prosperity.  It’s true I am no expert, but I am making new discoveries every day and I truly feel that it is my responsibility to acknowledge my privilege as an artist to continue learning and to share my discoveries as I make them.

What do you think of the Art scene in Auckland?  New Zealand?

The art scene in Auckland just keeps getting stronger. I have been making work professionally for almost 20 years now and am really excited to see it in it’s current phase of development. There are so many cultures and sub-cultures at home here. For a long time people have talked about Auckland being diverse but it feels like it’s taken until now to hear a diversity of voices come through. It seems partially by the deliberate effort of art institutions but also because people are quite rightly refusing to be ignored. In many ways the advent of social media seems to have activated a lot of necessary conversations about and provided a space for, unpacking cultural dissonance and celebrating difference. It’s been really important and I think that it’s having a huge impact not only on what we see in galleries but who. To me this difference is our strength and it’s great to see a programme such as Artweek Auckland in place to promote this diversity in visibility, and provide a common ground or network, which is just so essential in this phase of development.

Are there any artists / pieces of work that you’re looking forward to seeing this year?

I am still plotting out my calendar for this year but I have to say I’m really looking forward to my partner Joshua Solomon’s performance as part of Late Night Art this year. Last year he tattooed Dominic ‘Tourettes’ Hoey as Dom did a poetry reading. It really pushed the possibilities of what could happen and this year looks to push it even further. I can’t say much more, but check it out, it will be worth it.

What is your social media of choice?

Hm I wish I could opt out… Can I say emails? Bullet pointed emails. Haha, seriously though I’m on Instagram and Facebook. 

My Instagram gets most of my attention and you can see some of my works in progress and some of my research up on there.  But I kind of feel like I’m not that good at it and I definitely despise the fact that a work I may have spent a month making is subject to the same critique as someone’s…body parts! It’s a very reductive algorithm in that way…

Who do you follow and where?

On instagram with relevance to this, naturally @artweekauckland @whitespacegallery @j.j.e.s   …… I’m also feeling @art.herbarium and of course @docgovtnz and @doctsambassador I’m quietly obsessed with @belizeraptorcenter too. Mainly though I just open an app and then get overwhelmed and close it…I have a theory about the projected self and it doesn’t correlate with my intentional self…

What are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist right now?

Waiting room – Fugazi

Creature comfort – Arcade Fire

Living the classics – Aldous Harding

Word Association:

Auckland – home

Art – communication

Festival – sensory

Creative – subversive

Collaboration – connection

Politics – consumerism

Summer – shade


Punk rock environmentalism by Erin Forsyth at Whitespace Contemporary Art, 12 Crummer Rd as part as ARTWEEK AUCKLAND.

7-15 October, find out more.

AWA17: 5 mis with Richard Orjis

Since completing his Masters at the Elam School of Fine Arts, artist Richard Orjis has exhibited his work both locally and internationally.   In 2016, he was the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui and earlier this year, he was the Asisa New Zealand Foundation artist in residence at Rimbun Dahan in Malaysia.   His work is held in private and public collections including: The University of Auckland, the Jenny Gibbs Collection (Auckland), the University of Auckland (Auckland), Auckland Council (Auckland), The Film Archive (Wellington), The Wallace Trust collection (Auckland) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport Collection (Madrid, Spain).

His new work will explore the fundamental concept of connection and how everything can be perceived as intrinsically linked.  Check it out as part of Artweek Auckland.

Describe your piece of work / installation in three words





What inspired it?

Connections with people through conversations, history and art


What’s your creative process?

It can be varied, but basically, it’s a process of absorbing the world around me and creating works of art as a result of that collecting.


What do you think of the Art scene in Auckland?  New Zealand?

I think it’s vibrant, active and keyed into a global discourse. It is also aware of its unique position in the Southern hemisphere.


Are there any artists / pieces of work that you’re looking forward to seeing this year?

Flora at the Franklin Arts Centre

Shifting Ground at Silo 6


What is your social media of choice?



Who do you follow and where?

Best_of_grindr / Instagram

Palaceofwisdom / Instagram

Tom Sainsbury / Facebook


What are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist right now?

It’s too embarrassing, I only listen to doof doof music at the gym and it’s just too embarrassing to mention.


Word Association:

Auckland – water

Art – Oh fuck

Festival – too many

Creative – everyone is

Collaboration – complicated

Politics – depressing

Summer – gardens


Richard Orjis’ exhibition Salt Felix at Melanie Roger Gallery, 444 K’Road as part of Artweek Auckland.

7 – 15 October, find out more.

AWA17: 5 mins with Mardo El-Noor

Mardo El-Noor is a chai-latte drinking, left-handed, hybrid creative. Armed with a Masters in Art & Design (AUT), Mardo’s work can be found globally.

New Zealand music lovers will be familiar with his conceptual music videos, including ‘Shine’ by the Modern Māori Quartet, ‘Treat you better’ by Theia, ‘Sunday’s best clothes’ by Opshop, ‘Hometown’ by Salmonella Dub, and ‘Jump’ by Kings. He’s also made three animated short films, screening at NZIFF and other film festivals around the world.

Mardo’s most recent work; a series of ground-breaking images with renowned political commentator and editorial cartoonist, Tom Scott (ONZM) can be found in the NZ Parliament Buildings and (next year) at the Waikato Museum.

Mardo was 2016’s ART Venture recipient, an acceleration programme for experienced creative entrepreneurs working in Auckland.

This Artweek Auckland, check out Mardo’s hyper-real photo-illustrations depicting people as characters in elaborately staged scenes that tell their personal stories.

Describe your piece of work in three words
Family-friendly David LaChappelle.

Baby by Mardo El-Noor

What inspired it?
People. People. People. Everyone has a story but not everyone is a storyteller. I’m a curator of people’s stories.

What’s your creative process?
I depict people as characters in elaborately staged, highly-detailed scenes that tells their personal stories (Imagine a freeze-frame in a non-existing movie, with you as the star!). The process starts with a conversation/interview, which leads to a pitch of a sketch, then a photoshoot, then a long post-production process.

Havana by Mardo El-Noor

What do you think of the Art scene in Auckland? New Zealand?
I’m not familiar with it – as my background is in commercial art & advertising. New Zealand market is quite small, which makes it easier to stand out.

Unnamed by Mardo El-Noor

What is your social media of choice?
Facebook. You can customise your newsfeed to follow all your fave websites (& block out all social noise from ‘friends’)

Who do you follow and where?
I mainly follow trending videos on Vimeo, Nowness & the likes. Behance is a huge source of inspiration too.

What are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist right now?
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (album)
Future Islands – The Far Field (album)
The National – Sleep Well Beast (album)

Word Association:
Auckland – Traffic
Art – Stories
Festival – Festival
Creative – Job
Collaboration – Synergy
Politics – Status Quo
Summer – Recharge

Mardo El-Noor, Personal Stories at Ponsonby Central as part of Artweek Auckland.
2-15 October, Find out more.

seen | Not Psycho

Not Psycho is a brilliantly written and directed play that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. If you’re a Hitchcock fan and love psychological thrillers this is THE show for you.

Not Psycho is a mesh-mash of ‘slasher film tropes’ blurring the line of what’s real and what’s imaginary, it is so full of twists and turns it will have you reeling. The story follows a young man named Matthew who works at a video store based in 1990s Manchester. Within minutes you realise things aren’t right between him and his psychotic mother. Matthew soon encounters an unwelcome group of misfits whom helps or hinders his recollection of his past throwing him into a wrath of delusions or unnerving realities. You sympathise with Matthew, you worry for him, you fear for him and you want to end it for him. The story is confusing, it is unsettling but it is hypnotic, intense and gripping to watch.

I got an email last Wednesday morning asking if I could review a show, as I skimmed through the email I came by two words that turned me still, Not Psycho. “Is it a film I wonder? Is it going to be scary? Holy sh*t I don’t do well with horror!” Those were my thoughts but I said yes anyway and I do not regret it.

Saturday rolls by and my partner and I were queuing, next to us stood a chalkboard which said: “Contains nudity, sexual themes, violence, strobe + haze”. I thought to myself “Oh yeah, this is my kind of show” while my partner said aloud “… my gosh, what are we watching?”. We walked past a pile of unraveled VHS tapes on the floor before turning down a dark and curtained corridor. The stage divided the room like a catwalk, seen from either side of the stage is a subtly lit frame framing the setting like a wide screen television. In the middle of the stage was a shower head, shower drain and there lay a naked body wrapped in clear plastic. The environment is cold, clinical and sterile, it was like looking into an autopsy room. Low tech stage effects such as LED lights and the use of a smoke machine added to the illusion and I really loved the metallic echoes used with some of the dialogue, that added an extra element of eeriness to the play. There was blood, there was screaming, there were definitely a lot of flashing of skin and underwear. Take me seriously when I say this and I know this line is thrown about quite often, but this show should not to be missed.


WHEN:  Tuesday – Saturday 8:30pm (August 15 – 29)

WHERE:  The Loft @ Q Theatre (305 Queen Street CBD, AUCKLAND)

TICKETS: Adults $34.00, Concessions $28.00

(Fees apply for online booking, credit & postage)




Words & Direction: Benjamin Henson
———————- ———————————————————
Performance: Edwin Beats, Julia Croft, Virginia Frankovich, Kevin Keys, Donogh Rees, Bryony Skillington
———————- ———————————————————
Set Design: Christine Urquhart
Lighting Design: Rachel Marlow
Sound Design: Thomas Press
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In partnership with: Q Theatre as part of Q Presents
Supported by: Arts Alive, Creative New Zealand, Höpt
———————- ———————————————————

Produced by: Fractious Tash

NZICF15 | piecesandbits by Paul Amos

Piecesandbits is by far one of the most random shows I have ever been to, random in a good way that is with pieces and bits of everything. Paul is one man who plays three characters, Paul, Paul & Bruce.. or what ever he feels like calling himself.

Paul is bit nerdy with hair that needs a bit of trimming and thick rimmed glasses in jeans and a t-shirt. You don’t go to piecesandbits to love the comedy but to fall in love with his character. You learn very quickly that he obsesses over Sultana Bran, Pam’s, collects time and uses it like currency. He likes a bit of ranting, brand marketing, singing, poetry and improv acting. And by the end of the evening you would of heard quite a lot of ranting, brand marketing, songs, poems and seen his ‘okay’ acting.

This was another show held at Q Theatre’s Cellar and this time it was much much cooler (temperature wise) to be in. Upon entering the room we were asked to sit near the front, fearing the possibility of being picked on (cause you can never trust a comedian) we sat in third row. But be warned, attending this show doesn’t mean you are safe from being pelted by OXO cubes (2 x chicken stock, 1 x beef stock to be exact), I caught one and was nearly pelted by two others so bring some eye protection. Apparently Paul is “very, very, very, very, very, very okay” at doing comedy, well that was what it says on www.comedyfestival.co.nz. I agree and disagree with that, first of all yes it is very okay comedy as you don’t go rolling around with laughter, but he exceeds ‘okay’ by keeping us amused throughout his performance. His awkward stage persona is loveable, and his nutty actions and quirky behaviour kept me grinning. Paul has a unique way of making a somewhat rehearsed performance appear as it was all improvised, or was it? If you’re the type who is open, quirky, creative, loves a bit of randomness and this show is for you. It is worth heading along just to hear his random songs, you will be standing by the end of the show singing and rocking along to his tunes.

Piecesandbits is an Auckland only show and is on till Saturday (9 May) in the Cellar at Q Theatre. Don’t miss out book your tickets online here at Q Theatre’s Sessions Page. Click on NZ Comedy Festival’s website here to view Paul Amos’ listing or scroll down to view show details:


WHEN:  7:15 pm Thursday (7th May) – 7:15 pm Saturday (9th May)

WHERE: Cellar, Q Theatre 305 Queen Street, CBD AUCKLAND



Adults   – $18.00

Concession   – $15.00

Group 6+   – $15.00


LIKE his Facebook page Paul The Amos to stay up to date with his work.

seen | in Pursuit of Venus [infected] – Lisa Reihana

In Pursuit of Venus [infected] opened at the Auckland Art Gallery this weekend. A must see for everyone.

This is surely one of the most spectacular installations that the Auckland Art Gallery has been the temporary home to. Lisa Reihana, world renown visual artist, revealed the piece on May Day evening at the invite only opening night. The evening was packed out with people from the varied art community in New Zealand, and the numerous people that had been a part of Reihana’s extensive team had joined her to share in the unveiling of this incredible artwork.

Reihana has taken the work of a French wallpaper maker from the Enlightenment period, Joseph Dufour, who in 1804 (in collaboration with another artist Jean-Gabriel Charvet) produced a twenty-panel set of scenic wallpaper entitled Sauvages de la Mer du Pacifique (Savages of the Pacific). The panorama was designed to be hung over a ‘dado’ in the neoclassic spirit of ornate French stately homes of the time.

In the original there are Pacific Islanders in a collection of different scenes – all based on the historical events and records collected from the travels of Captain Cook. The original was painted in the style of ancient Italien frescoes discovered in 1748 and well-known Greek and Roman structures. It was one of the first of its kind and the result of new technology in industrialising France at the time, where long panoramic wallpapers were becoming the new trend, especially with the wealthy in America.

Reihana has taken this classic piece and reclaimed a whole slice of history. Using multimedia techniques, the wallpaper comes alive; a beautiful, stylised rolling projection of the wallpaper with the surreal and living scenes of the colonial encounter. The characters act out different sets of customs and ceremonies in traditional dress from across the Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and French Polynesia.

There are echoes of hakas, Hawaiian songs and then the horrific scenes of punishment both between the colonial voyagers, white men in their uniforms, and within the communities, which are coming into contact with these external forces. We witness whippings, fights, stabbings but also moments of unity and shared experience, as a soldier receives a tattoo and other soldiers sit around listening to Hawaiian comedy. The ongoing roving scenery takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of the deepest kind, a lived experience of a violent and difficult colonial past. It is affronting and at the same time a sensory delight of the highest kind. The aesthetics of the piece could not be more beautiful, the observer is immediately thrust into a dreamy landscape – a landscape that was the object of beauty in French elite homes two centuries ago but the historical land and livelihood of generations living in the Pacific long before Captain Cook arrived. The actors are all flawless, and the costumes are wonderful – Reihana evidently brought together a team of highly talented people to create this ground-breaking piece, which is an inherently political act. Using the dreamscape to conjure up the realities of colonisation, Reihana reclaims the historical process that is often left unseen and brushed under the carpet by those living comfortable lives of opulence in other people’s lands. Yet she remains sympathetic to the complexities of this encounter and the struggles that the multiple identities faced as history was in the making.

heard | Someone’s Left the Attic Door Open Again – by Antoinette Ratcliffe

Come along and see a cute zombie invasion this Friday the 4th of July. An animal lover and vet by day and a mad artist by night, Antoinette Radcliffe exhibits a fun loving and colourfully mad installation at LOT23, Auckland.


Opening : Friday 4th July 2014 (6 – 9 PM)

Venue : LOT23 (23 Minnie Street, Eden Terrance AUCKLAND)

Hours: Mon – Sat (8 AM – 3:30 PM)

End Date : (To be announced)

Entry : FREE


Antoinette Ratcliffes installation practice explores thematic narrative derived from horror conventions, comedy, banal situations, hybridity and anthropomorphic association.  B-grade horror films have influenced her current body of work, giving the large scale installations an awareness of a quiet sinister suspense as the visitors are watched by the shiny candy coloured zombie animals. Antoinettes installations have been described as being  ‘like a graphic novel we’ve all read at some point in our lives, but can’t quite find that copy of it just at the moment. But it’s there, just under the surface like the story we’re all actually characters in’ (Joe Citizen, 2012). In this show a feast of vampire ladybirds have attracted a colony of bat bunnies into Lot23.

Antoinette completed her MA at The School of Media Arts in 2011 where she created an installation based project that has become ‘The Sick Bay’. The following year Antoinette gave a talk at the Auckland Art Gallery about her practice called ‘Blood, Guts and Carnivorous Zombie Bunnies’. Her work was shown the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, in the Wallace Arts Trust Pah Homestead, Satellite gallery, and Matchbox Studios. She had also previously exhibited at the Waikato Museum of Art and History, in the Auckland Fringe Festival, at Ramp Gallery, and had numerous solo and group shows in artist run spaces in New Zealand.  Antoinette is currently working on another large scale installation for Saatchi and Saatchi opening at the end of July 2014.


a ratcliffe sample image