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August 14, 2016 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Sweet 16

Save the date ’cause we’re having a party!


I received my invitation to celebrate the sixteenth birthday of Enjoy Public Art Gallery, and boy was I excited!

All dressed up and ready to party, I made my way to Caroline with a few friends—I remember exclaiming that this would be the party of the year.

Balloons and streamers were everywhere, silver fringe framed the door in which you walked through and everything sparkled. Beer in hand and friends by my side, I wished Emma Ng, curator, and Louise Rutledge, communications / publications manager, a loving happy birthday.

Now my main focus was the dance floor where Callum Devlin and Jordana Bragg’s DANCEDONTDANCE DJ set / performance was so lit that the entire art community were getting low and v sweaty. A new way to make friends or to have the time your life, probably one of the best dance parties I’ve experienced.

It was a night to remember, full of thanks, appreciation, and love. A pink layered birthday cake made by Cake For Breakfast was the sweetest treat and a wonderful way to congratulate and celebrate Enjoy’s achievements—I just wonder what Emma and Louise wished for.

Sixteen years is a big deal. A space that was initially only temporary has become important in Wellington’s / New Zealand’s art scene.

The motivation to establish Enjoy was the lack of variety of exhibition opportunities for artists. With the establishment of many dealer galleries in Wellington, Enjoy was birthed to allow artists to show work without the pressures and limitations of dealer galleries / larger public art galleries—to showcase innovative, experimental, and challenging visual arts. “Enjoy provides a new form of artistic experience for the Wellington Public. We see this as essential to the establishment of emerging and experimental artists within the Wellington / New Zealand art community, and vital to a healthy arts scene.” There would be no price tags and no commissions; a completely non-for profit artist run space with full intention to focus on art as experience and as a practice, rather than a product.  

It has been 16 years since the opening of Enjoy in June 2000, originally located at 174 Cuba Street (above Olive). Viewfinder was the first project that exhibited at Enjoy, consisting of five week long exhibitions, each work responding to the five windows in the gallery. Enhancing the architecture of the space, the premise of the show was to create discussions surrounding each artist’s different interpretations of the same theme. From the removal of glass windows, to the display and slow rot of mandarins, tamarillos, carrots, and brussel sprouts, to glossy photographs of polyurethane and sets of bags filled with air ‘sent’ from some of Wellington’s dealer galleries—Viewfinder was the beginning of something radical.

It’s been quite a year for Enjoy with the development of a new website, the release of the third five year retrospective catalogue, and a new curator Sophie Davis, who joins late August. Enjoy enters a new phase like the ever changing moon. This coincides with the rite of passage of turning sixteen, a coming of age party celebrating one entering into a new stage of life. I’m excited to see what’s next.

Enjoy Gallery continues to show work that encourages and promotes a progressive art scene that engages in critical discourse and contemporary art practise in all its forms. They also know how to party!

HBD Enjoy and may all your wishes come true, xo.


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