In a nation obsessed with sports, beaches, gadgets, cuisine and binge drinking such as New Zealand – art is often overlooked and underappreciated. There seems to be a general perception that art is an indulgence afforded only by the rich and pretentious. Everyone I speak to locally knows about Auckland Art Gallery, for instance, but surprisingly few have set foot in this establishment, let alone being aware of the exhibitions that are currently on display inside. One can argue this also stems from inertia, ambivalence and grass-is-greener mentality – “I am too busy, so this is at the bottom of my list”, “I am not even into art” or “This building is always going to be here, so I can always visit another time. I would rather travel overseas during my breaks.”
I have a background in architecture and fine arts, so I am one of those who takes pleasure out of visiting galleries and museums. I appreciate first and foremost how beautifully designed (by FJMT + Archimedia) this award-winning building is, inside and out. I also applaud the curators who work tirelessly to bring us some of the most exciting shows, both locally and from abroad.
But more than anything for me, the Gallery provides a space to meditate and reflect.
When I am with a camera in hand, I am there purely for the architecture and creation of images; when I am with friends, I am there to discuss and appreciate the works on display. But when I am alone, it is when I enjoy this building the most. It offers me not only acoustic silence, but visual harmony. I can sit on one of the benches, stare at an artwork, or Albert Park outside, and lose myself in thoughts. It is incredibly rewarding to take a moment away from a world that simply does not stop, and in fact seems to be accelerating with frightening velocity.
I hope this series of images clearly conveys my view, and would perhaps alter the preconceptions of some others, while entices those who did not know about this institution to pay a visit, or ten.
Disclaimer: With the exception of the featured image (sourced from and credited to Formaker), all other images in this post were taken by myself.
© 2016 Little Four Thirds | Ricky Lam