Get your game face on for this premier modern art event.


One of the world’s biggest international showcases of art from the Pacific region, with New Zealand at its core, the Auckland Art Fair returns from May 1 to 5 at The Cloud. Last year, more than $7 million in sales were generated from around 10,000 visitors, a success that has seen the exciting biennial event tipped to become an annual one.

As well as work by established artists, many of whom have produced pieces specifically for the event, visitors will be able to enjoy the 2019 Projects programme, Whanaungatanga (kinship). This initiative allows outstanding young artists, some without gallery representation, to be part of the fair, and many who were involved last year have gone on to enjoy significant success.

Here, we take a look at works by exhibiting artists from our neck of the woods.

By Paul Dibble.

Artist: Paul Dibble. Gallery: Gow Langsford, Auckland

Thames-born Paul Dibble is a skilled bronze sculptor and one of only a few in New Zealand who cast their own pieces. For several decades, he has created all kinds of wonderful works, from mini sculptures to monumental public ones. Perhaps his most well-known commission is the New Zealand War Memorial, Southern Stand, in London’s Hyde Park, which was unveiled by the Queen in 2006.

Gold Ascend by Mervyn Williams.

Artist: Mervyn Williams. Gallery: Artis, Auckland

Born in Whakatāne in 1940, Mervyn Williams spent the first five years of his life on a large sheep station inland of Taneatua. His family moved to Auckland a few years later, but returned to the Bay of Plenty for summer holidays and Mervyn says his early experiences here helped shape his life as an artist. His paintings are a trick of the eye. From a distance, they appear multidimensional, but up close it becomes clear that it’s an illusion created by the intricate paintwork that lies below the surface.

By James Ormsby.

Artist: James Ormsby. Gallery: Paulnache, Gisborne

Contemporary Māori artist James Ormsby lives in Mt Maunganui with his wife and four children. He describes drawing as his first language, and is well known for his large-scale, intricate drawings and the extensive research he undertakes when producing his historical and cultural work. In 1995, James helped establish an indigenous art course at Tauranga’s Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, where he tutors in drawing, painting, and European and Māori art theory, and produces work for group exhibitions and marae commissions. He also teaches at the University of Waikato and the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Four Birds by Kate van der Drift.

Artist: Kate van der Drift. Gallery: Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland

Hailing from Hamilton, Kate van der Drift takes beautiful photographs of shifting landscapes, frequently while sitting in her kayak. Manager of Sanderson Contemporary Adrienne Schierning says, “Kate’s drive to get the perfect shot always pays off. The soft palette and atmospheric water within her sublime photographs add to the subtlety of the works, often showing both symmetry and reflection.” Kate’s inspired by the shifting politics of land use and was the recipient of the 2018 Stoneleigh Wines Prize for the best New Zealand Artist represented at the Melbourne Art Fair.

Itutu, Needlework by Chris Charteris.

Artist: Chris Charteris. Gallery: FHE, Auckland

Of Kiribati and Pacific heritage, sculptor Chris Charteris lives and works in Whitianga. Initially trained in Māori design and carving, he draws on his culture for inspiration to produce pieces such as jewellery and other adornments. He has a deep respect for and connection with the materials he uses and finds inspiration through them. Some of his latest carvings use bone that was harvested from a dead whale stranded on a beach in Scotland in 1977. Chris’s work has recently been acquired and exhibited by the British Museum in London and can also be found in the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology.

Scene 39 by Gary McMillan.

Artist: Gary McMillan. Gallery: Fox Jensen, Auckland

Originally from the Waikato, Gary McMillan has had a long obsession with science fiction and the symbolism of film noir. It’s not surprising, then, that he’s known for creating cinematic paintings and drawings that are set in his everyday environment. His most recent paintings reflect a fascination with light, from natural sunlight to urban and industrial lighting.

Find out more and buy tickets at: ARTFAIR.CO.NZ