Te Whare Hēra Wellington International Artist Residency

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In 2014 Whiti o Rehua School of Art launched a new International Artist Residency Programme in Wellington. This non-commercial initiative run by Massey University’s Te Whiti o Rehua School of Art and the Wellington City Council is designed to bring contemporary international artists to live, work and exhibit in Wellington city. Resident artists to date have included Christian Thompson, Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko, Martín Sastre, Etienne de France, Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, and from January 2017 French artist Soraya Rhofir. 

Artists are granted an impressive live-work studio suite on Wellington harbour within the prestigious Willis Bond & Co. Clyde Quay Wharf Development. Residencies run for a three - six month period, the first having commenced late 2014.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • stimulate the production of high quality, innovative, creative work in Wellington, which can be shared with Wellingtonians and visitors to the city;
  • reinforce Wellington as a visual arts leader; and a place where contemporary art is widely recognised and debated;
  • make a real difference to the cultural lives of our community;
  • partner with sector colleagues to enable the best opportunities for the resident artists’ work to be experienced by audiences.

The International Artist Residency programme is supported by Massey University through College of Creative Arts and Te Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Wellington City Council, and by in kind support from generous project partners.

In an additional partnership with Te Whare Hēra Wellington International Artist Residency, the Cultural Office of the French Embassy in New Zealand has developed a special initiative enabling the participation of French contemporary artists in the residency programme each year from 2016 to 2018.

The 2017 recipient is Soraya Rhofir, in residence from January to June.

For 2017 onwards, additional support is welcomed and we look forward to discussing details and benefits with interested parties.

  • About Soraya Rhofir

    A French visual artist who specialises in internet art, during her Wellington residency, Soraya Rhofir will focus on pop culture in New Zealand through the lens of Kiwiana. Using distinctly New Zealand objects, souvenirs, and popular icons Ms Rhofir will explore the tacky, kitsch fantasies and underlying themes and philosophies in the imagery associated with Kiwi identity.

    As part of the post-internet movement within visual art (art created by artists who have grown up with the internet as an inescapable part of their lives and visual education), Rhofir uses a “collagist approach” bringing together clip art, 16-bit video game graphics, banal and cliché images into both small scale and large immersive works.

    Her installations of life size cardboard cuts clustered together have previously brought Miss Piggy face to face with the Venus de Milo, in riotous dioramas reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch scenes composed via Google image search.

    In Rhofir’s own words she uses popular imagery “beyond good and bad taste”. Her works pose questions of aesthetics, at our ideas of beauty and ugliness.

  • About the team

    Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art is a leading contemporary art school, part of the College of Creative Arts, which is the foremost art and design school in New Zealand. Whiti o Rehua School of Art has a focus on contemporary fine arts, photography, visual and material culture, and matauranga Māori.

    The Te Whare Hēra team:

    - Residency coordinator, Associate Professor Ann Shelton is recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading photographic artists. Shelton’s internationally recognised large-scale, hyper real photographic works operate at the nexus of conceptual and documentary modes, investigating the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of the landscape and its content.

    - Ana Trenwith is the School Manager of Whiti o Rehua School of Art. Trenwith has extensive experience in business operations and funding administration, and her role as treasurer includes the management of business processes and financial control.

    - Lauren Redican is a visual artist who holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Whiti o Rehua School of Art. Redican's role as administrative assistant for Te Whare Hēra includes working with Shelton to support the resident artists and the development of their creative projects in Wellington. 

    - Claire Harris is the current graduate assistant for Te Whare Hēra and is working toward a Masters of Fine Arts at Whiti o Rehua School of Art.

  • The programme

    Outstanding, professional and innovative artists living abroad are eligible for this opportunity to live, work and exhibit in Wellington city. Artists will be selected by a committee, including members from Wellington City Council, Whiti o Rehua School of Art, and an external specialist advisor.

    Resident artists will be granted exclusive use of the impressive apartment and adjoined studio and gallery suite within Athfield Architects' designed Clyde Quay Wharf development. The development has large, light filled spaces, outstanding views overlooking Wellington’s picturesque harbour, attractive public space, and is situated within easy walking distance of the centre of Wellington city, art galleries, museums, shops, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and theatres etc.

    There will be artist-led public events once every four - six weeks; this may take the form of a studio-visit, artist-talk, workshop or exhibition visit. There will be a presentation of work at the end of the residency period.

    Resident artists to date have included Christian Thompson, Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko, Martín Sastre, Etienne de France, Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, and Soraya Rhofir.

  • Upcoming Events

    Rough Rough - Soraya Rhofir

    Rough Rough - Soraya Rhofir

    Opening Tuesday 1 August 5.30pm

    The Engine Room
    Block 1, Massey University.
    Access via Gate C,
    Wallace Street

    2 – 25 August Tuesday – Saturday 12 - 4pm

    Rough Rough is an exhibition of new works by Soraya Rhofir developed during her artist residency in Wellington. From a practice based in collage, clip art, and immersive installation, Soraya Rhofir has expanded into new mediums such as 3D inflatable works, carved foam sculpture and printed textile banners. Reinterpreting elements of New Zealand everyday culture mixed with a cosmic perspective, she describes the works as "...an ensemble, a palette constructed as a collage, each piece opens to a dimension of 'rough' : its vulnerability, its flexibility, its lightness...the pieces are nomadic, openings to another event horizon made of fabric, foam and wire."

    Soraya Rhofir has had solo exhibitions at Les Eglises in the city of Chelles (2013) and at Parc Saint-Léger, in Pougues-les-Eaux (2012). She was short-listed for the 2010 Prix Ricard art prize for artists under 40 in Paris, and for the international short list at Present-Future Artissima Turin International Art Fair in 2014.

    Soraya Rhofir’s residency is supported by the French Embassy in New Zealand. Te Whare Hēra and French Artists is a special initiative enabling artists from France to participate in the Te Whare Hēra residency programme in 2016, 2017 and 2018.