As the host of the inaugural Creative New Zealand Pacific Curator Residency (Australia), QAGOMA, with partners Creative New Zealand and Tautai Pacific Arts Trust is pleased to announce that Natasha Matila-Smith has been selected as the inaugural curator in residence.

Natasha will work with QAGOMA’s Asian and Pacific Art team towards ‘The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT10), developing  an artistic project of Pacific Art in Aotearoa New Zealand that will be presented as part of APT10.

‘I’m beyond excited and grateful for this opportunity. This is a pretty career defining moment for me and I will do my best to be part of delivering a thoughtful and compelling exhibition with sensitivity. Going forward, I am hopeful that in collaborating with QAGOMA, Tautai and Creative New Zealand can create more opportunities like this for Pacific (Moana), Indigenous and First Nations creatives’, says Natasha.

Over the past five years Matila-Smith has worked consistently across curatorial projects, writing and her creative practice to expand understandings of the complexity of contemporary Pacific life in Aotearoa.  She has developed a reputation as one of Aoeteroa New Zealand’s most unique critical voices. Throughout her practice she has challenged stereotypes and confronted expectations, presenting exhibitions that acknowledge the broader contexts for Pacific artists and art.

Artwork by Claudia-Jowitt, ‘Pacific Materiality’, 2015 / Curated by Natasha Matila-Smith / Photograph sourced by Natasha Matila-Smith

QAGOMA Director, Chris Saines CMZ said: ‘This exciting new residency opportunity enhances the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to providing platforms for New Zealand based Pacific artists, writers and curators through the APT exhibition series.

Natasha’s contributions to conversations about what constitutes contemporary Pacific culture could not be more relevant to the APT. She will have much to contribute as we celebrate the series 10th iteration and enter the exhibitions third decade.’

Courtney Sina Meredith, Director, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust agreed, saying, ‘This is a ground-breaking moment for arts in Moana Oceania, we’re thrilled to be appointing Natasha Matila-Smith as the first Pacific curator to take up this opportunity. She has an important voice within our community and is someone who has worked with Tautai through the years, contributing to the shape of contemporary Pacific arts in Aotearoa and our global positioning. We look forward to working alongside our partners QAGOMA and Creative New Zealand towards APT10.’

Artwork by Salome Tanuvasa, ‘Pacific Materiality’, 2015 / Curated by Natasha Matila-Smith / Photograph sourced by Natasha Matila-Smith

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The successful recipient of the Creative New Zealand Pacific Curator Residency was chosen through an open call for applications, assessed by staff from CNZ, Tautai Pacific Arts Trust and QAGOMA.

Feature image: Natasha Matila-Smith / Photograph: Emily Parr

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