What do you do?
I’m partnerships and communications manager for Objectspace, a gallery dedicated to material culture in Tāmaki Makaurau, and CoCA Toi Moroki, which is administered by Canterbury Society of the Arts and has been running for over 140 years.
Why do you go to galleries?
My friend Annabel who lives in Los Angeles says you waste so much time living in a big city – I’ve visited her over there a couple of times and it’s definitely true. It famously takes a long time getting anywhere. We also lived in London together where the same thing applies. You could say that about Tāmaki too. When I’m in Ōtautahi it always seems as though there’s more time in the day. Going to galleries anywhere in the world requires you to slow down and either just enjoy yourself, think critically, or do both. It’s sort of like stopping to smell the roses to me – luxurious but also necessary – because art is part of our cultural fabric. When I went to LACMA with Annabel and her young children I realised parents of under-fives don’t always find gallery visits relaxing…
What was the first artwork that made an impact on you?
Coming from the performing arts, I have a soft spot for contemporary dance and for me it was probably the experience of seeing May B by Compagnie Maguy Marin. The show has toured for over 40 years. It’s based on Beckett, has a great soundtrack, and there are 10 dancers on stage. It’s about how beautiful and mundane life is. It has you laughing one minute, crying the next and has really stuck with me 10 years later.
If you could own any work of art, what would it be?
Whatever Moniek Schrijer, Raewyn Walsh or Karl Fritsch are making. They all have a great sense of humour and play with ideas about what has value and what is precious. That and more ceramics – by Richard Parker, Robert Rapson or Rick Rudd. I guess the qualities in works I like to own are that they are not too serious, as an expression of my own general disposition. That, and Richard Orjis photography – because he is an utter delight.
Tell us about the one that got away?
There was the one that almost got away. My partner and I decided to go halves on an Areez Katki work a few years back which was delivered to me at work. One night I decided to unwrap it and take a look, because I hadn’t seen it since it was part of an exhibition. I put it back in the tissue paper and on top of a tallboy in our room, switched the lights off and went to bed. Only to wake up shortly after to hear rustling – the cat had climbed up on the furniture and was kneading its paws on the artwork. She was quickly pulled off and luckily there was no damage done. The cat was very close to being adopted out a third time. Not cute.
I’m quite sentimental and collecting allows you to link an object to an experience or time in your life. On a trip to the Northern Areas of Pakistan and Kashmir I collected embroidered textiles and antique jewellery from Afghanistan. I was gifted a handloomed rug featuring a peacock that was produced by a female art collective on one of my final days there. Most of this doesn’t get used (and probably won’t while the cat is alive) but I love them as objects and they connect me back to a trip of a lifetime.
Share a recipe or secret from your lockdown kitchen?
Earlier this week I had burgers made with chicken brined in buttermilk, and this weekend I’ll be making the Alleluya ginger cake recipe (Peter Hawkesby mentioned you should add more golden syrup than the recipe calls for). On Father’s Day I made Annabel Langbein’s ultimate ginger crunch recipe inspired by Erica Van Zon, for my own enjoyment.