Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga – Hastings City Art Gallery is thrilled to announce it has appointed a new Gallery Manager and Curator – Sophie Davis.

Ms Davis, who grew up in Te Tai-o-Aorere Nelson-Tasman in Te Waipounamu, has worked across a range of public and artist-led contemporary art spaces in Aotearoa, most recently as acting Curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery. From 2016-20 she was Director/Curator of Enjoy Contemporary Art Space in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and, prior to this, was Assistant Curator at The Physics Room and co-founded the independent art space North Projects (2014-16).

She says it’s a privilege to be joining Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga at this particular point in its development and history.

“I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated Gallery team and Hastings District Council, Te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Heretaunga, as the Gallery looks to strengthen its position as a regional centre for contemporary art, while also further developing relationships with local communities and artists, and expanding the Gallery’s audiences,” Ms Davis says.

“The opportunity to develop an ambitious curatorial programme with Aotearoa and international artists is particularly exciting.”

Hastings District Council Arts & Culture Manager, Megan Peacock Coyle, says the team is excited for Ms Davis’ arrival in mid-November.

“We had a range of very high-calibre applicants for this role, but Sophie really stood out for her collaborative approach and strong curatorial vision. We are really looking forward to her bringing a fresh perspective to the Gallery and its programmes.”

Ms Davis comes to Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga with a strong background in curatorial writing. She recently co-edited As needed, as possible (2021), a collection of responses to labour and collaboration in Aotearoa art published by Enjoy and GLORIA Books.

She has written for Art & Australia, Art New Zealand, Christchurch Art Gallery and Matters. Ms Davis was an international participant in the programmes Art and the Post-Pandemic Condition by What Should Could Curating Do, online (2020) Para Site’s Emerging Curators Programme, Hong Kong (2018), and the Asia New Zealand Foundation Curator’s Tour of Japan and Taiwan (2017). She has a BFA in Graphic Design and a MA in Art History and Theory from the University of Canterbury.

“I am looking forward to relocating to Heretaunga with my partner and spending the Hawke’s Bay summer exploring the region that will be our new home, and — of course — getting to know the local art community,” Ms Davis says.