13 March 2023

James Tapsell-Kururangi

Delfina Foundation and Metroland Cultures have selected James Tapsell-Kururangi (Te Arawa, Tainui, Ngāti Porou) to spend 12 weeks in London, starting in April, as the inaugural New Zealand curator-in-residence in Delfina Foundation’s Spring 2023 Residency season in partnership with Te Tuhi. This project has been made possible through the very generous support of Kent Gardner and the British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and Pacific.

The residency was awarded following an open call to emerging / mid-career curators interested in testing and developing new approaches to a collaborative practice bridging artists and communities. Over 30 applications were received from which Delfina Foundation and Metroland Cultures selected five for interviews.

Following James’ acceptance of the residency, Delfina Foundation said:

“We are really excited to welcome James Tapsell-Kururangi to London in April, where he can learn from and likewise share knowledge to, the community of 7 co-resident artists and curators staying alongside him at Delfina Foundation.

We believe that Delfina as an institution, his co-residents, and the London arts community at large can truly benefit from the insights, experience and knowledge he has, in a practice which centres local Māori histories and Māori knowledge systems.”

Lois Stonock, Founder and Director of Metroland Cultures, commented:

'We can’t wait to welcome James to Metroland Cultures - and to Brent - as part of his residency in London. The aim of Metroland is to celebrate and support the art and culture that’s being made here in Brent, and help people across the world to hear about it; so an exchange with New Zealand is a great opportunity to start making that happen. We’re very grateful to the British Council and Kent Gardner for their support to enable this work'

James Tapsell-Kururangi is a Māori curator and artist, currently working as project facilitator of Papatūnga, Te Tuhi’s programme for arts practitioners based at an urban marae in Howick, Tāmaki Makaurau. Launching this month Papatūnga will be co-designed by participants to offer professional learning through artistic exchange and experimentation. James developed the pilot programme for this in 2021, drawing on te ao Māori concepts of collectivity such as whakawhānaungatanga (establishing relationships with others), sharing of kai and kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face exchange), to facilitate the time he spent together with six artists. The result was an exhibition, Te Pō, at Parnell Project Space in November 2021.

During his residency James will spend part of each week working at Metroland Cultures and the rest of his time with six other artists / curators / writers in Delfina Foundation’s Spring Residencies, pursuing his own research. While in London, he will continue to develop concepts for Papatūnga, learning from Metroland Cultures’ own artist support programmes, like Peer to Peer, and how they work within the Brent community. James will also spend time getting to know the artists in Metroland Studios with a view to future exchanges between artists in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

At Wairau Māori Art Gallery in Whangarei, James recently co-curated, with Karl Chitham, the solo exhibition, Kei Muri Nga Mea I Te Rā, by Shane Cotton,one of New Zealand’s leading Māori artists. In the exhibition text, These Painted Histories Which Blossom In The Sun: A collection of thoughts on Shane Cotton’s exhibition Kei muri ngā mea i te rā, James traced the ontology of Light through the Māori stories of creation, and the Māori art histories of painting and colonisation. Following Te Pō, James curated Ata Koia! at Te Tuhi in Pakuranga, in February – May 2022.

James is also a practicing artist whose moving image works build from his family whakapapa, his geological ties to place, sites of significant histories and oral histories told to him by his family. Recent exhibitions include A portrait with my Father 2022 at City Gallery Wellington for the group show Matarua curated by Shannon Te Ao,and He Waiata Aroha, 2021 at Enjoy Contemporary Art Gallery.

Recent writings include In response to Thus the Blast Carried It, Into the World 它便随着爆破, 冲向了世界 by Qianye Lin and Qianhe AL Lin, 2022,The Physics Room., and Gains, Grandmother, Grey Street, 2020 in “As needed, as possible: emerging discussions on art, labour and collaboration in Aotearoa.” Enjoy, in collaboration with GLORIA Books.

About the residency

The residency offers opportunities to gain training, skills and experience, while embedded in the curatorial workings of Metroland Cultures for 3 days/week. Metroland Cultures’ programme sits at the intersection of art and community, testing and pioneering new approaches that centre partnerships, strategies and approaches for community and artist collaboration. The residency will provide unique professional development opportunities related to exhibition organization, project management, artist liaison support, research and public programming.

For the balance of the week, James will pursue his own research through a bespoke programme delivered by Delfina Foundation as part of their ‘open’ Spring 2023 residency season. This programme will include introductions to museums, galleries, non-profits, artist-run spaces and studios, as well as trips to institutions outside London; opportunities to meet and engage with artists, curators, academics and researchers through organised presentations and studio visits; and professional development activities including: presentations and crits, portfolio reviews, and mentoring activities. Situated within Delfina Foundation, James will also benefit from career growth, mentorship as well as peer-to-peer exchange with other practitioners in residence.