Call for New Zealand at Venice 2019 Exhibition Attendants
October 18, 2018
New Zealand’s exhibition for Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice to be previewed 8 May
March 11, 2019

New Zealand’s exhibition attendants for 2019 Venice Biennale

From left: Dane Mitchell, Benny Chan, James Hope, Moya Lawson, Erin McFarlane, Brook Konia, Hope Wilson.

From left: Dane Mitchell, Benny Chan, James Hope, Moya Lawson, Erin McFarlane, Brook Konia, Hope Wilson.

Welcome to our New Zealand pavilion attendants for Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc exhibition for the Biennale Arte 2019.

There was a very high standard of applications this year, and the selection panel had a challenging job selecting the six successful attendants. Coming from locations all around New Zealand, our 2019 exhibition attendants have solid backgrounds and qualifications in the arts and see this time in Venice as a major professional development opportunity.

They will each spend approximately six weeks as part of the team overseeing the exhibition between May and November 2019.  Their vital role requires a high level of professionalism and initiative, as well as good knowledge of New Zealand contemporary visual arts and culture and, in particular, Dane Mitchell’s practice.

We know they will make a meaningful contribution to the project and we’re looking forward to bringing you some of their blogs from May this year.

2019 Attendants (in order of their assignment in Venice)

  • Hope Wilson
  • Benny Chan
  • James Hope
  • Moya Lawson
  • Brook Konia
  • Erin McFarlane

Hope Wilson

Our first attendant, Hope, is currently the Assistant Curator for The Physics Room in Christchurch, a role she has held since 2016. She also volunteers as a Committee Member for the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery.

“I was delighted to be appointed as an Attendant for the New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale,” said Hope. “I am really excited about the opportunity and looking forward to my time in that beautiful city.”

She completed her Bachelor of Arts with Combined Honours in Art History and English (1st class) from the University of Otago in 2013. In 2017 she completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies from Massey University.

Benny Chan

Benny is currently the Duty Operations Manager at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, where he has been since 2015.

“I have worked as a host for large international exhibitions such as The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from the Tate and The Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence,” he said.

“I’m currently working as part of the team looking after Dane Mitchell’s ‘Iris Iris Iris’ and have always had a keen interest in Dane’s practice. The Venice Biennale will be a place where I can passionately talk about New Zealand art as well as Dane’s work, and I’m very excited about going again.”

Benny previously performed in Lee Mingwei’s artwork The Mending Project in the Venice Biennale 2017.

His dedication to customer service has been recognised with an award from Auckland Council for excellent customer service in 2012. He graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of Auckland in 2009.

James Hope

Formerly the Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Curatorial Intern for 2018 at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, James is actively involved in the Dunedin and Christchurch art communities.

He has a particular interest in sculpture and sound installation and is really looking forward to being part of the presentation of Dane’s work to the Venice Biennale visitors.

“Being part of the team helping to bring Dane Mitchell’s work to the public at this year’s Biennale is a fantastic opportunity to showcase New Zealand contemporary art at the world’s oldest and most prestigious art fair. I am anticipating that his work will spark many nuanced conversations between visitors and attendants.”

James completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Art History and Theory) at the University of Canterbury in 2014.

Moya Lawson

Moya currently has several roles at City Gallery Wellington, including Curatorial Research Assistant and Visitor Host. She has also written and co-authored several books and papers, most recently ‘This is New Zealand (2018)’ and ‘The documentary in Saudi Female Art Practices’ (2018). In 2018 she curated City Gallery’s Suffrage 125 exhibition, Arwa Alneami: Never Never Land.

“I am very focused on developing a career in the visual arts and feel that this opportunity in Venice is an unmissable eye opener on how such huge overseas projects are realised,” she said.

Moya graduated from Victoria University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours.

Brook Konia (Ngāti Porou Tuwhakairiora)

Since graduating from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2016, Brook has wasted no time in getting the experience he needs to set himself up for a career in the arts.

He has held several roles at the Auckland Art Gallery, including Gallery Assistant, Duty Operations Manager, Acting Team Leader and Volunteer Guide.

He is particularly interested in the use of electronic media in contemporary art. For his graduation show, Brook created a technology-based artwork which combined his interest in languages.

“He tata ngā toi o Aotearoa i tōku ngākau. I am very passionate about New Zealand’s art scene and am excited to be working with Dane’s artwork,” said Brook.

Erin McFarlane

Erin is currently the Loans and Acquisitions Advisor for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In addition to her experience with negotiating and facilitating incoming and outgoing exhibition loans at Te Papa, Erin was seconded to the arts team as Exhibition Registrar for their 2018 Toi Art exhibition.

“Through my work, I’ve become increasingly familiar with previous works presented by NZ at Venice, and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand’s Art community in this capacity,” said Erin.

“Dane Mitchell’s work will no doubt provoke meaningful interaction from audiences and I’m excited to foster this, and to see him add to the NZ at Venice legacy.”

Erin has also held audience engagement roles as visitor host at Waikato museum and Artspost (2011-2013), and National Museum of Crime and Punishment (2013-2014) in Washington DC.

She completed her Bachelor of Arts in 2011 at the University of Waikato.