By February 1987 Aotearoa New Zealand had been experimenting with internet connections for more than a decade. Parliament had passed the Homosexual Law Reform Act six months prior, and within six more it would make Te Reo Māori the first official language of Aotearoa New Zealand.
This was the time in which Artspace Aotearoa arrived, emerging from a plan by Auckland City Council for a new public art gallery. Twelve years later, on the threshold of the millennium, Artspace moved to Karangahape Road, where Guy Ngan’s aluminium sculpture, Star (1973), still adorns the entrance to the old Newton Post Office building. Suitably affixed to one of the few contemporary independent art organisations that mediated contact with the world. Ngan’s public artwork was a presentiment of the future of Auckland as a growing city, embracing modernity by engaging with the radical social implications at its horizon. We walk backwards into the future; ka mua, ka muri.
In 2019 Artspace Aotearoa has grown into a modest, lean contemporary institute for supporting visual art with civic intent. Artspace works within a city, nation and world, knitting together stories that interpret, react, and respond to these permeable borders and the ever-changing societies that exist within them. We have built an approach to our programme and organisation that seeks to care, support, and inspire, making exhibitions that both promote NZ art and actively engage with voices from elsewhere.
Artspace Aotearoa is proud of its long commitment to, and support from, an active community of artists, benefactors, writers, performers, academics, and many more who shape the reality we live. We also know that this reality is not the same for all of us and that many imaginations of how and where we live have many unheard voices. Sometimes what we do is unbalanced, or not enough. We work towards imagining more, better, and in other ways.
Image credit: opening of Ōtairongo by Maree Sheehan, Artspace Aotearoa, March 2020.
292 Karangahape Road, Newton-Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand