Saturday 16 March 2024, 10:00am

Exhibition Making with Vasemaca Tavola and Ruth Buchanan

Date Saturday 16 March 2024
Time 10:00am – 3:00pm
Location The Kit at Artspace Aotearoa, 292 Karangahape Rd

This lab offers perspective on various methods and approaches to exhibition making relevant to the context of Aotearoa and Moana-nui-a-kiwa.

In this primarily discursive session, artist-curator Vasemaca Tavola will discuss exhibition-making as a mode of decolonisation, and the positioning of arts programming in different socio-political and site-specific spaces to define new ways for artwork and creative ideas to be encountered.

Leading on from this Artspace Aotearoa Kaitohu director Ruth Buchanan, will present a close reading of the institution-wide collection exhibition she developed for Kunstmuseum Basel across 2021-2022. She will talk through concept, spatial, and graphic design strategies employed in this exhibition.

Key skills

Intercultural skills, Talanoa - a Moana Pacific mode of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue, decolonisation in practice, audience engagement, curatorial problem solving

The Exhibition Making Skills Lab is suitable for those involved in exhibition making - arts workers and artists alike.


Vasemaca Tavola is an independent artist-curator and proud Fijian from the island of Dravuni, Kadavu. She holds a Master of Arts Management and Bachelor of Visual Arts but credits her most critical and ongoing education as the act of motherhood. Based in South Auckland Tavola’s curatorial concerns are grounded in the opportunities for contemporary art to engage grassroots audiences, shift representational politics, and archive the Pacific diaspora experience. Having worked on curatorial and engagement projects for galleries and museums throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Tavola is committed to curating as a mechanism for social inclusion, centralising Pacific ways of seeing and exhibition making as a mode of decolonisation. Tavola opened her independent gallery, Vunilagi Vou in 2019 in Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland. Responding to the uncertainty of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Vunilagi Vou shapeshifted throughout 2020-2021 before re-emerging in its original form as a gallery, art retail and consultancy space in 2022. Ema’s curatorial practice has always aimed to shift Eurocentric modes of presentation and accessibility to recalibrate the value system, the idea and meaning of art, and centre the inextricable connection between Moana Pacific art and Moana Pacific audience.

Ruth Buchanan is an artist of Pākehā, Taranaki, and Te Atiawa descent. Buchanan studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Between 2008-2009 she was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. In 2018 she was awarded the Walters Prize for BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS. She has realised commissions with, amongst others, Neue Afftrageber/The New Patrons and Museum Abteiberg (2023); Kunstmuseum Basel (2022); Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Ngāmotu New Plymouth, (2019); MASP, São Paulo (2019); Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland,(2018); Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery, Poneke Wellington; and the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2016). Buchanan is currently Kaitohu Director of Artspace Aotearoa.

Maximum Participants: 30

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