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.
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.