Small World, Big Town: Contemporary Art from Te Papa

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Media Release: July, 2005. 

City Gallery Wellington, in association with law firm Simpson Grierson, is proud to announce Small World, Big Town: Contemporary Art from Te Papa, an exhibition in partnership with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

This partnership will give audiences an opportunity to see an exciting and diverse range of contemporary New Zealand art. Small World, Big Town has been jointly curated City Gallery Wellington and Te Papa, and includes work by 28 New Zealand artists, drawn from the Te Papa visual art collections.

Small World, Big Town takes as its theme a shift in artists’ thinking in recent decades, from concerns about national identity and nationhood to the ideas and impacts of globalisation, a would-be regionalism and the importance of individual experience.

The works selected for Small World, Big Town focus both on the local and the immediate, as well as our growing sense of belonging to a global community. Now, as the world appears to shrink in scale, artists get their bearings from all over the globe. Small World, Big Town offers audiences an affectionate look at ourselves as a big town on the periphery of an increasingly smaller world; remote, yet globally connected.

The works included in the exhibition range from iconic pieces by well-known artists, such as Peter Robinson’s My marae, my Methven, the centre piece of the 1995 international touring exhibition Cultural Safety, to recent acquisitions by emerging artists such as Peter Stichbury and Mladen Bizumic.

Small World, Big Town will present an exciting array of artworks, from Ani O’Neill’s six-metre long weaving made of florist’s ribbon and thread, to moving image work by Yuk King Tan, paintings by Michael Harrison and Bill Hammond, photographs by Fiona Pardington and Yvonne Todd, sculpture by Michael Parekowhai and Richard Reddaway and page works by cartoonist Dylan Horrocks.

A significant element of Small World, Big Town will be the first New Zealand showing of Michael Stevenson’s This is the Trekka, made possible by its recent acquisition for Te Papa’s collections. This is the Trekka was New Zealand’s presentation at the 50thVenice Biennale of International Art 2003.

City Gallery Wellington Director Paula Savage says: “We are thrilled to have worked with Te Papa on this exhibition. I know the curators at City Gallery Wellington have really enjoyed working with a collection of such high calibre, and we are very much looking forward to presenting the results of our combined work to the public. We are sure that visitors will find Small World, Big Town a fresh and engaging look at the fantastic work produced by New Zealand artists over the past 20 years.”

Seddon Bennington, Chief Executive, Te Papa, says: "Te Papa is extremely pleased to be working with City Gallery Wellington to develop an exhibition of works from our collections for the people of Wellington and visitors to the region. Small World, Big Town complements the many works on display at Te Papa, and builds on our long term strategy to increase access to the treasures in our collections through our loans programme with New Zealand's public galleries and museums."

City Gallery Wellington is also very pleased to announce that the exhibition Small World, Big Town will inaugurate a new sponsor-relationship with law firm Simpson Grierson.

City Gallery Wellington director Paula Savage says: “Partnerships with businesses like Simpson Grierson play a vital role in assisting City Gallery Wellington to achieve its mission of bringing the best of contemporary art to a wide public audience. We are proud to welcome Simpson Grierson as supporters of City Gallery Wellington, and moreover, as supporters of the arts in New Zealand.”

Simpson Grierson Chairman Rob Fisher says: “We are delighted to come on board as sponsors of City Gallery Wellington, and to play a part in the presentation of such an exciting range of contemporary New Zealand art. We look forward to our involvement in further similarly stimulating exhibitions at the Gallery.”

The artists featured in Small World, Big Town are:

Mladen Bizumic; Derrick Cherrie; Margaret Dawson; Bill Hammond; Michael Harrison; Gavin Hipkins; Saskia Leek; Lauren Lysaght; Andrew McLeod; Anne Noble; Ani O’Neill; Fiona Pardington; Michael Parekowhai; John Pule; Richard Reddaway; Peter Robinson; Ava Seymour; Marie Shannon; Michael Shepherd; Michael Stevenson; Peter Stichbury; Yuk King Tan; Yvonne Todd; Ronnie van Hout; John Walsh; Ruth Watson; Boyd Webb; Brendan Wilkinson.

Also opening 10 July, Noel McKenna – Sheltered Life (10 July – 18 September).

Small Town, Big World: Contemporary Art from Te Papa is a partnership exhibition between City Gallery Wellington and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa