A variation on the theme


Depot Artspace

Last week’s post, New Beginnings, was about my new writing project, although it was not the only new thing I embarked upon post-Covid lockdown. I am proud to say that I began a new job, as a volunteer worker at The Depot Artspace, a community art gallery in Devonport just down the road from me. It’s a great creative hub, where artists are encouraged to produce new and innovative pieces, whether it be photography, painting, sculpture or sound. They offer a professional development programme, publications, a recording studio, and a design studio. That’s quite something for a community enterprise.

I was welcomed warmly on my first day and introduced to everyone by Tracey Kitchingham, the gallery manager. I slipped into the role of Meet and Greet with ease. It was as if I’d just popped out for a while from the gallery job I had held years before in another town. Back then, I was well-versed with most emerging New Zealand artists’ work, and had reasonable knowledge about many from overseas. I enjoyed welcoming people to the gallery and talking about the exhibited works.  


Diana Hu, photographer

But here, at the Depot, I am new to the artists who exhibit and visit the gallery. I have a lot to catch up on. I am quick to learn however, and on my second day, there is a new exhibition to check out, which is part of the current Auckland Festival of Photography. The works in Te Rua Raranga: Woven 2 showcase photographers from the Depot’s own ArtsLab. I read the leaflet about the makers and the making. One of the exhibitors, Diana Hu, works at the gallery. I ask if I can photograph her work. The answer is yes. I pick up an Art New Zealand magazine, and read the marked articles on well-known photographers and artists I used to know well. I feel as if I have never been away.


9 thoughts on “A variation on the theme

  1. That’s great, Vivienne! The arts sector has been impacted immensely by COVID-19 – so the Depot will really appreciate your voluntary contributions. I was delighted to see SOUL co-founder Qiana Matata-Sipu’s photograph on the front page of the NZ Herald’s 23 May canvas magazine, to promote the Auckland Festival of Photography. Last year Qiana’s award winning NZ National Geographic photographs depicting life at Ihumātao were displayed for the first time in a gallery, at the Mairangi Arts Centre – during Matariki. The week after Qiana’s talk at the conclusion of the exhibition, police moved on to Ihumātao.


  2. It’s been an absolute pleasure to see you slip into your new role at the Depot, Vivienne. We wouldn’t get far at all without our front facing volunteers! xx


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