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February 21, 2011 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts |
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Adam Art Gallery

For those of you new to the area the Adam is the thin black sliver of a building stretching down the Mt Street hill, snuck in between the towering Kirk building and the Student Union.

It is an easy place to miss; lost in the shadows of its neighbors. The Adam Art Gallery, or Te Pataka Toi, is neither an independent nor professional gallery. It is not a snobby and elitist parasite on the side of the Kelburn Campus. The Adam is your gallery. Opening in 1999, Te Pataka Toi is a relatively new addition to the Kelburn Campus and serves a dual purpose for the staff and students of Victoria. Victoria University itself has a long heritage in terms of its own art collection. It was started in the 40s by a small group of lecturers who decided that Victoria needed more colour and a vibrancy that education alone could not provide. This collection continues to be an important part of the gallery’s purpose and existence as it holds a significant amount of important New Zealand painting and sculpture with a focus on contemporary and innovative artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as displaying the collection of the university, the gallery also tries to bring in international and domestic artists’ works in order to try to gain an understanding of where we are culturally, both as New Zealanders and as citizens of an increasingly connected world.

As well as the exhibits that are curated and displayed by the gallery, the public programmes offered by the gallery are a big part of artistic life at Victoria. Talks by artists and commentators attempt to foster discussion among staff and students about where and who we are. What makes us New Zealanders? What sets us apart? Where to next? These are all important issues to be discussed not only in the field of visual art but also in every aspect of our lives as students. It is important for us to try to locate ourselves. As much as being about learning the material of your courses, your time at university is your time to consider who you are, evaluate the world around you and consider what your position in it is. This can be daunting but programmes like the Adam’s public talks and discussions are one of the many tools which can be used to broaden horizons while at Victoria.

However, I don’t want to give the impression that if you enter the Adam without a pre-written thesis or alternative novel that you’ll be asked to leave. As well as being a place for debate it is a place for enjoyment, and most importantly it is yours. It is a free gallery dedicated to serving you, the students of Victoria. Many of the exhibits over the coming year will be active as well as static, exploring many different ways in which the visual arts can be used and appreciated. Te Pataka Toi is another place in the university for you, a place for conversation, and just as importantly, a place to escape from the rain.

The current exhibition on at the Adam is Designs for Living, an exploration of the the path of 20th century modernism in New Zealand. It features several different artists and collaborators investigating different aspects of how our country’s art and attitudes were altered by the drastic changes in attitude that occurred throughout the 20th century. It includes several different media and is well worth checking out in a gap between lectures.

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