It's what many have known for a long time now – one of the best art galleries in New Zealand can be found right here in Tauranga.
In April, the Tauranga Art Gallery was named as one of the top seven galleries in the country by Culture Trip, an international travel and lifestyle website that attracts more than five million readers per month and has a following of 1.5 million on social media around the world.
Also named in the list were Auckland Art Gallery, City Gallery Wellington, Christchurch Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, The Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui, and New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
Director Karl Chitham says the Culture Trip editorial is a great endorsement of the Tauranga Art Gallery.
“To be mentioned in this list aimed at international travellers, alongside the larger metropolitan galleries is something we are incredibly proud of.”
In her editorial for Culture Trip, contributor Thalita Alves points out the Tauranga Art Gallery is a relative newcomer to New Zealand's arts scene that is “quickly earning a reputation for its high quality exhibits”.
“An active lineup of displays from New Zealand and around the globe continues to be featured in this modern, central-city space.
“In fact, the Tauranga Art Gallery has recently made history by hosting the largest public display of Banksy originals in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Brisbane street artist Sofles creating his work ‘Perspexive 2' for the Paradox Inside exhibition. Photo: Luke Shirlaw
The 22 Bansky works appear in TAG's latest exhibition Paradox Inside which is being held in partnership with the Tauranga City Council and Oi You!, and is one of the major drawcards of the inaugural Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival.
Paradox Inside also features works created by other renowned artists like Faile, Paul Insect, Swoon and Anthony Micallef, six massive installations created especially for the exhibition, plus a fascinating virtual reality experience created by Melbourne artist Rone.
Marketing and media coordinator Martine Rolls says since Paradox Inside opened to the public on March 28, nearly 33,000 visitors have visited the gallery.
“We launched our 10th anniversary programme with Paradox Inside, and people are traveling from Auckland, the Waikato and further afield to see it. There is a real, ongoing buzz in the gallery which we hope to see continue as our birthday celebrations roll out over the year.”
Paradox Inside can be seen in Tauranga until June 15, after which the gallery's 10th anniversary programme continues with more exciting exhibitions.
This includes an atrium show by Auckland-based artist Sara Hughes, traditional Korean drawing project by Jae Kang, local artist Todd Couper's first survey exhibition, a collection show curated by former gallery director Penelope Jackson, and The 80s Show.
Papamoa-based artist Kereama Taepa has also been commissioned to create one of his distinctive graphic works inside the Tauranga Art Gallery lift.
To check out all the wonderful art and exhibitions on show at the Tauranga Art Gallery, visit artgallery.org.nz
The Tauranga Art Gallery can be found on the corner of Wharf and Willow streets in downtown Tauranga. File Photo.