Modernist art history has viewed Frances Hodgkins (1869–1947) as a trailblazer for leaving New Zealand to ‘measure herself’ against the best modern artists in Europe. Yet we now see her ambitions as colonial in that she believed Europe was the wellspring of high culture. To travel at the turn of the 20th century was no easy undertaking and for her leaving home was an extended and ultimately permanent process of expatriation. Today, as our borders close against a global pandemic, we are living through a new period of restricted travel which makes us wonder what long-term decisions artists are making about where to base themselves.

Where should our most ambitious artists be looking to live? How can artists succeed on the global stage from their New Zealand base? What role do artist's residencies have in this climate? And should this period of restricted travel be considered an impediment to art production or, with many art professionals and artists having returned to New Zealand, could the crisis paradoxically serve to stimulate the local scene? What indeed will our global art world look like in the future?

Please join us as this panel of artists and curators reflect on the year that has been and consider these multifaceted questions and the future that awaits.


Originally from Whanganui, Milly Mitchell-Anyon completed her MA in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. She was the 2018 Blumhardt Creative New Zealand Curatorial Intern at the Dowse Art Museum in Te Awakairangi/ Lower Hutt and the 2019 Creative New Zealand Curatorial Intern at Dunedin Public Art Gallery. In 2020 Mitchell-Anyon initially planned to travel to the USA, but instead returned to Whanganui to found Swine, an art gallery established in the site of a former bacon factory.

Raúl Ortega Ayala completed his undergraduate studies in Mexico City, prior to undertaking an MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in combination with Hunter College, New York City. He regularly travels to remote sites across the globe, many of which require complex logistics to access. For his recent project The Zone, Ortega Ayala travelled to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine on several occasions between 2012 and 2018 and produced a body of large scale moving image and photographic works that interrogate the specificities of place.

Sam Clague is an artist based in Pōneke. Since completing his BFA with First Class Honours at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2015, he has produced work for many solo and group exhibitions across New Zealand and Australia. He recently returned from Germany, where he undertook the LIAP residency, supported by the Goethe-Institut.

Born in Pōneke, Vera Mey has been based in the UK since 2016 as a PhD candidate at SOAS, University of London. From 2014-2016 she was a curator on the founding team of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, and as part of this role managed an international artists’ residency programme. More recent curatorial projects include being co-curator of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s – Now (2017) at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Centre Tokyo, Japan.

Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) won the Walters Prize in 2016 for his works Two shoots that stretch far out (2013–14) and Okea ururoatia (never say die) 2016. Since then he has continued to build a substantial national and international profile. Despite all obstacles, during 2020 Te Ao presented his major his solo exhibition Ka mua, ka muri at two significant art institutions in Canada: Oakville Galleries, Toronto and Remai Modern, Saskatoon.


  • Free


  • Sat 12 Dec


  • 4:00 pm


  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
  • Wellington 6012