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Gallery director cautious as global market ‘fairly immune so far’ . . .

Wednesday 22 February 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Business, Local, National

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Gallery director cautious as global market ‘fairly immune so far’ . . .
Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman. Photo: SUPPLIED/22052706

Rarotonga Bergman Gallery owner Ben Bergman has labelled 2022 as “unprecedented” and is looking forward with a positive attitude to a busy 2023 calendar in Rarotonga and New Zealand.

“The 2023 calendar is now fairly full in both Auckland and Rarotonga galleries with more exhibition details to be progressively announced,” Bergman said.

It follows a full-on 2022 in which the Bergman Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand was officially opened in June by Cook Islander Caren Rangi, chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand, Toi Aotearoa.

“We began in April, taking Mahiriki Tangaroa’s exhibition Kaveinga, Angels of the Ocean to Personal Structures, a curated event hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice. 

“This was the culmination of 12-months work with an incredible level of support from clients and friends,” Bergman said.

The exhibition ran concurrent to the Venice Biennale. 

“This really was a big first, as the Cook Islands were represented in Venice for the first time against the backdrop of the world’s biggest art event. 

“Then it was back to Auckland for the opening of our new gallery space on Karangahape R with the group exhibition Te Atuitanga - Between our Cloak of Stars. 

“Following that, we delivered the Billy Apple Rainbows project and the group show, Fa’atasi featuring Fatu Feu’u, in Rarotonga, then a return to Auckland to host four more solo exhibitions by Telly Tuita, Benjamin Work, Raymond Sagapolutele and Sylvia Marsters, before we launched into the much delayed Aotearoa Art Fair.”

Running alongside this exhibition programme was a continued development of the gallery’s social media platform which will result in the launch of a new website in March. 

Bergman said 2023 kicks off with the gallery’s first ever Pride exhibition in Auckland, with the exhibition Pride and Prejudice, Part 1, followed shortly thereafter by the Aotearoa Art Fair, which is now back to its regular pre-Covid time slot. 

Artists involved in projects at the gallery this year are set to include  Mahiriki Tangaroa, Sylvia Marsters, Joan Gragg, Telly Tuita, Sione Monū, Oliver Cain, Lucas Grogan, Heather Straka, Raymond Sagapolutele, Luke Thurgate, Benjamin Work, Tabatha Forbes, Nina Oberg Humphries, Shannon Novak, Wesley John Fourie, Andy Leleisi’uao, Susan Tamaki, Tungane Broadbent,  Semisi Fetokai Potauaine, Terje Koloamatangi, Hulita Koloi, ‘Uhila Nai, Harrison Freeth, John Vea, David Siliga Setoga and Iokapeka Magele Suamasi.

“I think it's fair to say that we have achieved a fair bit in the past 12 months, it's now a case of settling back into a regular exhibition schedule for both galleries. 

“Additionally, we will focus on digital and brand development, client lists, and research for publications,’ Bergman said.  

“So far, the global art market has appeared fairly immune to the disruptions around Covid and post Covid recovery, but the upcoming Aotearoa Art Fair will be an interesting litmus test for market conditions in New Zealand.”