Andrew Clifford appointed to role of director of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.
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Andrew Clifford appointed to role of director of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.

Andrew Clifford appointed to role of director of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.

Andrew Clifford, currently director of Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery in West Auckland, has been appointed to the role of director of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.

Whanganui District Council’s general manager, community and customer experience, Marianne Cavanagh, says Andrew Clifford will bring a valuable mix of skills and experience to the role in Whanganui.

“The role of director for the Sarjeant Gallery is a critical appointment,” she says. “The Sarjeant Gallery is a valued asset for Whanganui and is central to its identity as a vibrant city for the arts.”

“The Sarjeant’s importance has been further underlined by Whanganui’s recent designation as a UNESCO City of Design and the significant support the gallery’s redevelopment has received from central government, along with the extraordinary fundraising efforts of the Sarjeant Gallery Trust. We have also recently seen the stunning outcome of iwi co-design and co-governance supporting the development of the new wing, Pātaka o Sir Te Atawhai Archie John Taiaroa.”

“Andrew’s experience opening Te Uru in a new purpose-built facility and forging its new identity is perfectly matched to the next steps for the Sarjeant Gallery – seeing the redevelopment through to completion, overseeing the transition from the gallery’s temporary premises to the new, earthquake-strengthened and re-envisaged gallery and establishing a the Sarjeant as an exciting new destination – for our community and visitors alike.”

Andrew Clifford is also a writer and curator, and was the inaugural director of Te Uru. He was previously Curator and Acting Director at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Art Studies, where he helped manage the university’s Gus Fisher Gallery and art collection.

His curatorial interests follow the worlds of contemporary art, performance, new media and music, notably with his 2018 touring exhibition, From Scratch: 546 Moons. He has contributed articles and essays to publications throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including recent essays about Gavin Hipkins, Shannon Te Ao, John Parker, Yuki Kihara, Bepen Bhana, Lisa Reihana, Phil Dadson, Billy Apple, and Reuben Paterson, among others. He has contributed articles to many periodicals, including ArtAsiaPacific, Art + Australia, Eyeline, Art New Zealand, Art News New Zealand, New Zealand Listener, New Zealand Herald, Pavement, Rip It Up and Vogue.

From 2002–2007 he produced music programmes for Radio New Zealand, preceded by ten years at 95bFM. He has been a judge for the Pattillo Whanganui Arts Review and other awards programmes, a juror for the Walters Prize, and has sat on various other selection panels. He holds an MFA from the University of Auckland and is a trustee for the Len Lye Foundation.

He says, “I’m honoured to be joining the Sarjeant team at a really important moment in its history. The current redevelopment will be an incredible upgrade on what is already one of the most beautiful gallery buildings in Aotearoa.

“Whanganui is fast establishing a reputation for the buzz of its established creative community and has become a go-to destination for artists looking for an interesting place to live. The relaunch of the Sarjeant will highlight this even further, so who could resist the opportunity to be part of the development of this vibrant scene?”

“The Sarjeant Gallery’s programme, which is a reflection of its unique historic collection and the associated local art scene, has a strong emphasis on craft and design, particularly glass and ceramics. In my current role at Te Uru, we have a similarly broad approach to the arts, especially through our ceramics programmes, and so I look forward to further developing these strengths in response to the special dynamics of Whanganui.”

Marianne Cavanagh says, “We very much look forward to welcoming Andrew to the Sarjeant Gallery and to Whanganui when he joins us officially in March 2023.”