Bergman Gallery director Ben Bergman. Photo: SUPPLIED/22052706
Art dealer Ben Bergman is expanding his operations to launch the first Pacific Island-based art gallery in Auckland.
For Ben Bergman, establishing a new gallery space in Auckland was a “no brainer”.
The gallery, which
will be based on K-Road, will offer a regular Pacific focused
exhibition schedule including paintings, photography, sculpture, installation
Bergman says they are constantly exploring new opportunities for the artists that they represent. The new exhibition space in Auckland evolves the gallery mission to develop and exhibit Pacific artists on a domestic, regional and international level.
In addition to its physical exhibition calendar in two
countries, Bergman Gallery will also broaden its digital and social media
think it made sense. Auckland is the largest Pacific (by population) city in
the world. The fact that it did not have a contemporary Pacific focused dealer
gallery always struck me as odd,” Bergman explains to Cook Islands News.
“Over the past 10 or so years I have waited for one to
appear, it didn’t, so I’ve done it. The mission of Bergman Gallery has always
been to elevate the recognition and exhibition of Modern Pacific Art.
“We also look forward to being part of the history of K Road, with its unique connection to the Pacific and LGBTQIA+ community and position within Auckland’s art gallery forum.”
Bergman says over the past seven years, Bergman
Gallery has enjoyed the support of a fantastic core group of Cook Islands and
Pacific artists who are aligned with the Gallery’s philosophy to broaden
recognition of the modern Pacific art form.
“We all feel that it has a pertinent message and can
speak at global level of exhibition, our recent effort in Venice with Cook
Islands artist Mahiriki Tangaroa is an example,” he says.
“Our new space in Auckland allows us to further that
conversation, in addition to increasing our artist representation, exhibition
calendar, creating a new physical and digital audience and giving us further
opportunities within regional/global markets.”
Bergman Gallery regularly participates in the Aotearoa
Art Fair (formerly the Auckland Art Fair). Most recently, the Gallery featured
in the European Cultural Centre’s curated project Personal Structures, Venice,
Italy with Cook Islands artist Mahiriki Tangaroa.
Bergman Gallery opened in Rarotonga in 2016, evolving from its former incarnation Beachcomber Contemporary Art (BCA).
“Where ever we go, we are always asked where we are
from. Bergman Gallery was established in Rarotonga and will always carry that recognition
and brand wherever we go,” Bergman says.
“The fact that we now have a gallery in Auckland
extends the recognition of the Cook Islands as a contemporary art destination.
The Cook Islands boasts many fine artists, musicians, producers, directors,
actors, digital content creators, writers, poets and film makers. That fact
needs more recognition and public financial support. The creative industry is a
huge national asset and prime area for development.”
Bergman arrived in Rarotonga in 1976 with his family.
Raised and educated between the northern and southern group of the Cook
Islands, he completed his education in Auckland, graduating from the University
of Auckland in 1992.
He is director of Bergman & Sons, Cook Islands
Black Pearls and Bergman Gallery.
In 2001, he established Beachcomber Contemporary Art
Gallery (BCA), which delivered exhibitions of Cook Islands and Pacific art in
Rarotonga, New Zealand and New York City; co-curating the travelling group show
MANUIA in 2010 and appearing at the VOLTA Art Fair in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Bergman has contributed articles to Art News NZ and Art Monthly Australia and currently sits on the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council.
“On behalf of the gallery and our artists, I would
like to thank and acknowledge the phenomenal support of our many sponsors,
patrons and clients. Our shared belief in Modern Pacific Art is about to evolve
into an exciting new chapter,” Bergman says.
“I am also delighted to introduce our new Auckland
Gallery manager Benny Chan. Benny is a graduate of the University of Auckland,
Bachelor of Visual Arts, 2009. He has previously worked with the Auckland Art
Gallery Toi O Tāmaki and Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery. Benny’s
experience and love of Pacific and New Zealand contemporary art is warmly
Bergman Gallery Auckland will open 25th June, 2022
from 2:30-5:30pm. The inaugural group show will feature new works by Mahiriki
Tangaroa, Andy Leleisi’uao, Sylvia Marsters, Telly Tuita, Nina Oberg Humphries,
Benjamin Work, Raymond Sagapolutele & Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka.
The gallery space will be officially opened by Caren
Rangi, chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand, Toi Aotearoa. A welcoming
blessing will be conducted at 2.30pm.