A new gallery for modern Pacific art opens in Auckland this Matariki

A new gallery is opening its doors in the largest Pacific city in the world, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, with its core foundation rooted in elevating the standing and exhibition of Modern Pacific Art. 

HOME’s digital editor Katie Delany spoke to gallery director Ben Bergman about the opening of the new gallery space.

Ben Bergman isn’t new to the art scene. Since setting up his original gallery in Rarotonga, Ben, along with the artists he represents, has taken to the world stage, presenting alongside the Venice Biennale and regularly exhibiting at the Aotearoa Art Fair. 

Telly Tuita, Summer Death, Digital print on cotton rag, 1355x1060mm, 2020.

“After exhibiting at the Aotearoa Art Fair for the last five editions, I saw a niche in the market, calling us to be here permanently. There are no other galleries specialising in modern Pacific art, so we decided to give it a try,” Ben says. 

“Having a permanent space in Aotearoa benefits our artists, our clients, and is an opportunity to share this art with the wider public.” 

Fittingly, the opening of Bergman Gallery coincides with Matariki, signalling the beginning of the Māori lunar cycle. 

“This wasn’t deliberate. It was a fantastic coincidence to launch at a time when we reflect on the year just been, honour our ancestors and look toward the year ahead.”

Sylvia Marsters, Solace Panel 4, oil on fine linen, 915x915mm, 2022

The new space, on Karangahape Road in central Tāmaki Makaurau, has a unique connection to the Pacific and LGBTQIA+ communities. 

The inaugural group show, Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars, celebrates the evolution of Pacific understanding and shared heritage and will feature new works by nine artists from across the country; Mahiriki Tangaroa, Andy Leleisi’uao, Sylvia Marsters, Telly Tuita, Nina Oberg Humphries, Michel Tuffery, Benjamin Work, Raymond Sagapolutele & Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. 

Mahiriki Tangaroa, In Search of Sunshine, oil on canvas, 480x800mm, 2022.

“These nine artists are exceptional Pacific artists representing our Polynesian legacy, and they stand together here now with an authoritative statement. They form part of the enduring narrative that continually questions our origins, who we are and our place in the world.”

“With this exhibition, we hope to draw focus on the meaning of the Pacific, its people, culture and collective aspirations. As current regional developments play out, it is a timely political and cultural conversation.”

Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars is open at Bergman Gallery, Auckland from 25 June 2022


All images courtesy of the Bergman Gallery.



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