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Work Out: 5 artist projects

Dream Girls Art Collective, Simon Ward, Turumeke Harrington, Paul Darragh, Yvonne Todd 

Work Out is a suite of five exhibitions by a range of practitioners, each with different strings to their bow. Navigating the fringes of the art world, the exhibition brings together street artists, industrial designers, fashion stylists and video directors, resulting in a riot of colour and energy throughout the Gallery.

Tauranga Art Gallery Senior Curator Serena Bentley says: “Work Out celebrates the breadth of creative practice across multiple forms and outcomes. Each Work Out project is aspirational; revealing the different ways in which artists negotiate the art world and wider creative contexts while also acknowledging the labour involved in being an artist. Assembled with younger audiences in mind, it’s an invitation to be bold, think big and forge your own path”.

Dream Girls Art Collective: POP-POCALYPSE!

Tauranga Art Gallery’s atrium space will be completely transformed into a psychedelic world dominated by mana wahine and epic taniwha created by the Te Whanganui-a-Tara based art collective. Miriama Grace-Smith, Xoë Hall and Gina Kiel are all street artists in their own right, this recently-founded collective base their projects around the concept of the ‘exquisite kaitiaki’ which recalls the surrealist concept of the exquisite corpse, in which words or images are collectively assembled and transformed. 

POP-POCALYPSE brings their work into a public gallery for the first time. The work the Dream Girls have developed for Tauranga Art Gallery is a bold continuation of their distinctive world, in which legends and idols collide. Xoë Hall describes this new commission as a ‘cultural rupture’. Together, the Dream Girls use the language and strategies of street art to traverse contexts within and outside of the art world, all the while celebrating the strength of mana wahine and Te Ao Maˉori. 

Open: 4 March – 7 May 2023. 


Paul Darragh: Shape Up Or Ship Out

Local artist Paul Darragh left his career as a high-profile advertising campaign manager in New York to pursue a full-time career as an artist. Darragh’s practice lies at the intersection of mural-based street art and canvas painting and his newly commissioned project exploits the intersection of these two media and the distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. 

Shape Up or Ship Out takes the iconic shipping containers that dominate Tauranga’s local port as a point of departure. Visual symbols of bar codes, logos and QR Codes are combined and remixed with national and maritime flags to encompass the wider language of the global shipping network. While the exhibition’s title makes a direct reference to this initial inspiration for the show, Darragh also uses it to address the reality of being an artist and the associated ‘hustle’; it is his continued work in commercial design that funds his career as a practicing artist.

Open: 25 Feb – 14 May 2023.


Simon Ward: Music Television

Simon Ward is a self-taught animator and video director from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, with over sixty music videos under his belt. Music Television, his showreel for Tauranga Art Gallery celebrates the best of his practice from 2007 until today and features collaborations with musicians including Princess Chelsey, Disasteradio and Kalifa a.k.a Le1f. 

Ward’s nostalgia-driven sensibility is fuelled by his upbringing in small town Aotearoa where boredom was alleviated through the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy. A true innovator in animation, the lo-fi aesthetic Ward is known for grew out of making no- and low-budget music videos for his friends from his bedroom ‘production studio’.

Open: 11 Feb – 23 April 2023.


Yvonne Todd: Personal Mythology

Yvonne Todd is renowned for adopting commercial photography techniques to create images of predominantly female models that fuse glamour and the mundane to intense psychological effect. Her starting point is often a garment or object around which an ambiguous narrative can be built.

Todd’s 2022 series Personal Mythology reveals a different working process and outcome – originally commissioned as a fashion editorial for Viva magazine, Todd collaborated with Viva’s Fashion Director Dan Ahwa. Ahwa supplied the wardrobe and Todd added her own unusual embellishments from her personal treasure trove. Taking the sugary pastels of Personal Mythology as a departure point, Todd has also created a new companion photograph for the Gallery’s stairwell. This time the wardrobe has been created by another key collaborator – the artist’s mum. 

Open: 25 Feb – 14 May 2023.


Turumeke Harrington: Massive Props

With a background in industrial design, Turumeke Harrington’s (Ngai Tahu) interests in whakapapa, space, colour and material see her creating installations at the intersection of art and design. Commissioned by Tauranga Art Gallery, the exhibition Massive Props contains two core elements; a suite of three-metre long rugs that reference Papatuˉaˉnuku, architectural columns and bones. Viewed collectively, they are described by Harrington as a ‘big, strong, mama skeleton’ and is rendered in jarring pinks and greens, exploiting distinctions between the ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’. 

In Massive Props we, the audience, are also being watched. Harrington makes a distinction between the comfort and security offered by the maternal gaze versus the menace of surveillance versus the menace of surveillance – the ‘eyes on the street’ increasingly found in urban design. Paradoxically, being watched can feel inherently safe or unsafe, and likewise Massive Props traverses moments of both comfort and discomfort. Harrington invites us to relax on the rugs for a moment and consider our support structures.

Open: 11 Feb – 23 April 2023.


Work Out will be complemented with a suite of public programmes including: 

Work out artist talks

11am Saturday 4 March. Artist talks with all Work Out artists in attendance. Free, no booking required.

The Sunday Creative Workshop series 

Sunday 26 February. Our monthly Sunday Creative Workshop series picks up for another year with inspiration coming from the street style of Dream Girls Art Collective. In this workshop you will create your own artwork using the Dream Girls’ concept of ‘exquisite kaitiaki’ – an evolution of exquisite corpse, the Surrealist parlour game where a drawing or story is worked on and passed between multiple participants.

Sunday 26 March. This session will be led by local artist Paul Darragh. 

Beer, Paint, Skate

Friday 28 April. Artist Paul Darragh hosts a workshop where painting and skating collide. Participants will learn design and painting techniques on a fresh skate deck.

Further details about these and new events can be found here 

Principal Funder

Annual Strategic Partners

  Project Partners