If we never met – A wānanga on curating indigenous art 
7 December 2016

Day 9am-5pm: Takapūwāhia Marae, 2 Nohorua Street, Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand
Evening till late:  Pātaka Art + Museum, 17 Parumoana Street, Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand

Click here to register and book a ticket for this event

Institutional ticket $60*
Student and non-institutional ticket $40*

*Tickets include the admission to the day’s conference and lunch at Takapūwāhia marae, as well as the evening meal and arts performances at Pātaka Art + Museum.

*Spaces are limited to 130 seats.
*Please contact us for marae style communal accommodation options:
*Tickets are non-refundable. Please contact us if you wish to transfer your ticket at:

* Download Programme Summary here > If we never met wānanga programme


If we never met: A wānanga on curating indigenous art brings together curators and artists from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and Canada for one day in Wellington, New Zealand to discuss the role of indigenous curatorial practice within artist-run spaces, community galleries and major public institutions. The speakers will explore emerging trends, benefits and barriers to indigenous agency within these spaces.

The day’s proceedings will be facilitated by artist Rosanna Raymond and the SaVAge K’lub as an art activation project. Raymond and the SaVAge K’lub collective will be exploring ways to decolonise academic forums to create space for indigenous ways of being and learning.

Ioana Gordon-Smith, Curator of Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery and Trustee for the All Goods Whau Arts Space (Auckland, New Zealand) will be speaking on the first panel alongside Daina Warren, Director of the Urban Shaman Aboriginal Art Gallery (Winnipeg, Canada), and Kimba Thompson, Director of Blak Dot Gallery (Melbourne, Australia), to discuss the historical and political context of indigenous curatorial engagement in community galleries and artist-run spaces. Discussing the conditions that have led to the emergence of community and indigenous-run spaces, the speakers will share their view on ways in which indigenous curators and artists are engaging, or are not engaging, with these spaces.

Discussing the role of indigenous curators in major public institutions, the evening panel will feature Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art at The National Museum of New Zealand Te Papatongarewa (Wellington, New Zealand), alongside Nici Compton, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide, Australia) and Michelle LaVallee, Curator, Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Canada). The group will discuss the history and responsibility of indigenous curatorial roles within major institutions. Panellists will discuss the responsibilities that indigenous peoples bring to these curatorial roles and how this affects their curatorial practice and the outcome for their institutions.

The day’s events will be held at Takapūwāhia marae in Porirua, Wellington. The day’s talks at Takapūwāhia marae will be followed by an evening dinner and performance series by First Nations artists from Oceania and Canada at Pātaka Art + Museum. Performances and facilitators for the panels will be announced soon.


If we never met
First Nations Canadian Art Exhibition
9 October 2016 – 12 February 2017
Pātaka Art + Museum

The wānanga is anchored by the exhibition If we never met on display at Pātaka Art+Museum from 9 October 2016 to 12 February 2017. If we never met is curated by Daina Warren as an Urban Shaman Aboriginal Art Gallery collaboration with Pātaka Art + Museum. The exhibition looks at the commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in relation to the recent 175th signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through this lens, the project seeks to explore the benefits of indigenous art and curatorial practice on the world-stage in the age of globalisation.

The exhibition explores the reasons why indigenous artists exhibit their work outside of the communities from which these practices originate. Through this line of questioning three key questions arise:

1) If Western artistic concerns are the main driver for international indigenous art exhibitions today – championing contemporary indigenous art practice on the world stage – are economic outcomes now the key indicators of ‘success’?

2) Are political drivers the main concern for indigenous artists working on the world stage, using art to advocate for indigenous political concerns internationally?

3) Or, are we expecting far too much from our artists, loading them with cultural and political concerns that non-indigenous artists would perhaps not be burdened with?

Confirmed panellists in the conference include:

  • Nici Cumpston, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  • Ioana Gordon-Smith – Curator, Te Uru Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Michelle LaVallee, Curator, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Canada
  • Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator Modern and Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art, National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Kimba Thompson – Director, Blak Dot Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
  • Daina Warren, Director, Urban Shaman Aboriginal Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Rosanna Raymond (artist) and the SaVAge K’lub collective, Auckland, New Zealand


Morning program, Takapūwāhia Marae

09:00     Powhiri (welcome to country)
Takapūwāhia Marae, 2 Nohorua Street, Porirua, Wellington

09.45     Morning tea and refreshments

10.00     Session One: Quick-fire papers (10-15mins each)
Presenters: Nici Cumpston, Ioana Gordon-Smith, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Michelle LaVallee,
Kimba Thompson, Daina Warren

12.00     Lunch and performances

13.30     Session Two: Artist run spaces – Making space for indigenous art and curatorial practice
Panellists – Ioana Gordon-Smith, Kimba Thompson, Daina Warren

14.30     Afternoon tea

15.00     Session Three: Indigenous Curatorship in Public Institutions
Panellists – Megan Tamati-Quennell, Nici Cumpston, Michelle LaVallee

16.00     Conclusion of talks

Evening function, Pātaka Art + Museum

18.00     Doors open at Pātaka Art + Museum for pre-dinner drinks
17 Parumoana Street, Porirua, Wellington

18.30     Artist performances begin

19.00     Dinner served

19:30     Address by key note listeners – Rosanna Raymond and the SaVAge K’lub

20:00     Le Moana performance

22:00     Conclusion

IMAGE: Sonny Assu Re-invaders, 2014 (detail). Digital intervention on an Emily Carr Painting (Indian Church, 1929). Courtesy of the artist


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