16 Aug 2013
The Arts Council for Creative New Zealand is delighted to announce the appointment of Heather Galbraith, the Head of Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art, as Commissioner of New Zealand’s presentation at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.
Heather Galbraith will replace Christchurch Art Gallery Director Jenny Harper, whose tenure concludes with this year’s biennale. She has been Commissioner for the 2009, 2011 and 2013 biennales.
“We are very pleased that Heather has taken on this important role as she will build on our previous successes to help generate even more international interest in New Zealand’s visual arts,” said Arts Council Chairman Dr Dick Grant.
Heather Galbraith has held senior curatorial roles at national and international institutions and curated Frances Upritchard’s installation Save Yourself at the Venice Biennale in 2009. She was Deputy Commissioner for the 2009 and 2013 Venice Biennales.
Speaking about the contribution of Jenny Harper, Dr Grant said: “We want to acknowledge the leadership, dedication and expertise that Jenny has brought to the role of Commissioner. She is a strong advocate for our artists to be able to showcase their work to an international audience at this prestigious visual arts event.”
New Commissioner Heather Galbraith said it was an honour to be appointed to the role.
"The Venice Biennale is a highly valuable international platform upon which excellent New Zealand contemporary art is seen and discussed. Since 2001 we have established a strong presence within the Biennale, and the 2015 project will continue to build a rich and extended awareness of our artists and their work," she said.
The Arts Council will shortly call for proposals from established New Zealand visual artists and curatorial teams to present their work at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
The selection panel, chaired by a member of the Arts Council, will include the 2015 Commissioner, a number of visual arts sector experts, and representatives from the Venice Biennale patrons’ group.
The aim is to make an early selection so that the incoming artist and curatorial team have the opportunity to visit the 2013 biennale prior to its conclusion in late November and to be part of the search for a venue for the 2015 exhibition.
Creative New Zealand’s financial commitment to the 2015 biennale will be $700,000 over two financial years.
Artists who have previously represented New Zealand are: Peter Robinson and Jacqueline Fraser (2001), Michael Stevenson (2003), et al. (2005), Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard (2009), Michael Parekowhai (2011) and Bill Culbert (2013).