curatorial text / Sophie Davis
This iteration of Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa at Enjoy is the last stop on a touring exhibition of posters by more than 100 women and non-binary designers, generated through an open call by Designers Speak (Up) earlier this year.
Founded by designer, typographer and artist Catherine Griffiths, Designers Speak (Up) began in 2018 as a response to the Designers Institute of New Zealand’s ongoing failure to recognise women’s contributions to and achievements within the design landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand. Since then, the initiative has strived to be an “open platform for Aotearoa New Zealand designers to have a voice.”
Exhibition contributors were given the provocation to explore any socio-political or cultural issue through the poster medium. Working with white and the digital colour “Hexadecimal Red #ff333”, the submissions have a diverse range of aesthetics and subject matter. Together, they showcase a variety of creative practices, and respond to a wide range of contexts that affect women’s lives, as individuals and within communities. They are presented as gifs, silkscreen prints and digital files.
Over the past eight months, these poster works have been showcased on social media and on the designerspeakup.nz website, as well as in galleries, public sites and creative spaces.
Beginning with an exhibition in Kirikiriroa Hamilton at RAMP Gallery in April 2019, Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa has been exhibited at Laurel Projects, Ōtepoti Dunedin; Te Pū o Wheke Arts, Kaikohe; Ilam Campus Gallery, Ōtautahi Christchurch; and on Phantom Billboards in Britomart, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The project has been accompanied by writing from women artists, designers, critics and curators, who have contributed critical responses and further discourse to this online archive.
This exhibition has been described by its organisers as a hīkoi, and hosting the last iteration of it prompts the question: what happens now at the end of the journey? The project itself has expanded from a protest into a new space for the design community. During the exhibition at Enjoy, an accompanying public programme will explore the potential of this new space and what might happen within—and beyond it—in the future to pursue new dialogues in design.
Sophie Davis / Director, Enjoy
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The designers —
Aakifa Chida, Afifa Chida, ĀKAU Wāhine (Ana Heremaia, Felicity Benchley, Gemma O’Brien, Maia Ratana, Makareta Jahnke, Manawanui Uruora, Mere Taylor-Tuiloma & Ruby Watson), AKIN Studio (Emma Kaniuk & Tana Mitchell), Alessandra Banal (Archi), Alice Connew, Alice McKeown, Alice Murray, Alisha Henry, Amy Yalland, Angela Lynskey, Angelika Smuga, Anna Hayes, Anna Wilkinson, Annabel Cave, Anushka Harrison, Beatrice Chua, Caitlin Rassie, Carol Green, Caroline Konarkowska, Caroline Powley, Catherine Griffiths, Catherine Macdonald, Cindy Tan, Claudia Henty, Corinne Knott, Diana Albarrán González, Eden Kleiman, Elisapeta Hinemoa Heta, Ella Sutherland, Ellyse Randrup, Emily O’Hara, Emma Marriott, Emma Rogan, Erin Broughton, Erin Joyce, Eva Charlton, Fay McAlpine, Fiona Jack, Fiona Lascelles, Georgia Cantlon, Hina Nasir, Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho, Jade Tang-Taylor, Janelle Rodrigues, Jeanie Tseng, Jenn McEwan, Jenna Hagan, Jessica Armstrong, Jessica Holdaway, Jessica Lamont, Jinki Cambronero, Jo Bailey, Jordan Bostock, Josephine Ross, Kalee Jackson, Karen Hermon, Kate Cameron-Donald, Kate Darby, Kate Hursthouse, Kathleen Riach, Kathy Ho, Katie Kerr, Katie Paton, Kelsey O’Hagan, Kimberley Zhou, Kyra Ta-Waka Clarke, Laura Griffiths, Leah Surynt, Liane McGee, Lucie Blaževská, Mailin Lemke, Margaret Cochran, Maria Philp, Marie Holdaway, Mary Faber, Megan MacKay, Mel Banfield, Michelle Chang, Nell May, Nicola Devine , Nicole Phillips, Nikki Apse, Non Disclosure, Petra Scheuber, Pipi Press (Gabi Liardes & Cait Johnson), Pon Huey Min, Rebecca Steedman, Renee Feith, Romina Romero, Samai Azeez, Sarah Callesen, Sarah Gladwell, Sarah Maxey, Sarah Turner, Shabnam Shiwan, Sienna Mark-Brown, Siran Li & Momo Xie, Sita Narsai, Sofia Duganova, Sonya Lacey, Trudi Hewitt, Unattributed, Xanthe Copeland, Zara Olifent, Zoe Hikairo Morehu, Zofia Seymour
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essay / Disappointing the past and failing the future / Emma Ng, October 2019
curatorial text / From Protest to Present / Sophie Davis, October 2019
essay / Towards A Wider Understanding of Design / Michelle Wang, October 2019
essay / Te Marama / The Moon / Elle Loui August, September 2019
interview / Painting the town red / Jeremy Hansen, September 2019
essay / Mauri — an opportunity to connect / Desna Whaanga-Schollum, August 2019
artist text / On being present… / Mere Taylor-Tuiloma, August 2019
essay / Snakes, Ladders and Tables / Chloe Geoghegan, July 2019
curatorial text / No longer the exception / Lucy Wardle, August 2019
essay / Broken record / Lana Lopesi, April 2019
curatorial text / This present future / Wendy Richdale, April 2019
radio / Erin Broughton & Catherine Griffiths / Yujin Shin, August 2019
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return to Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa