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Face to Face: Portrait Festival

This new visual arts festival will feature four days of free exhibitions, collection tours, talks, studio visits and performances.
By Stephen Heard
March 15, 2021
By Stephen Heard
March 15, 2021

The capital's newest visual arts festival invites the public to come face to face with leading contemporary art. Taking place over four days in May (27–30), Face to Face: Portrait Festival will bring together some of Aotearoa's most celebrated artists, including Billy Apple, Yvonne Todd and Star Gossage, alongside early and mid-career artists such as Ayesha Green, Sam Mitchell and Claudia Kogachi.

Nine Wellington dealer galleries and six public galleries have joined together for the new event celebrating New Zealand portraiture past and present. It was founded with the aim of demystifying and increasing access to contemporary art, and to encourage the public to learn more about the art form.

The first Face to Face festival promises a program of free exhibitions, collection tours, talks, studio visits and performances. The public will be able to go behind the scenes, meet with artists and curators and discover galleries. One highlight is the Late Night event on Saturday, May 29, where dealer galleries stay open late and host performances from local musicians and performers. Attendees will be able to hop between the galleries and performances programmed by the team behind CubaDupa.

Questions surrounding historical and contemporary portraiture will be explored in weekend talks with artists, academics, writers, critics and curators, and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's inaugural Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award will kick off, encouraging emerging Māori artists to create portraits of their tūpuna (ancestors).

The full program, including exhibitions, talks, collection tours, studio visits, workshops and performances, will be announced in April 2021.

Image: Johnny Hendrikus, courtesy of WellingtonNZ.


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