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Mā te wā to our Senior Curator Melanie Oliver

Author: Steph McDonald, Communications Manager

Our marvellous Senior Curator Melanie Oliver is moving to Ōtautahi to join Christchurch Art Gallery. While we’re sad to be losing such a creative powerhouse and a great team mate, we’re excited to wish her well on this next big move.

We asked Melanie to reflect on her time with us at The Dowse, it’s been a very busy few years!

Can you share some of your favourite memories from your time at The Dowse?

“There have been many highlights for me working at The Dowse, from Emma Fitts’ playful exploration of our textile collection to Shannon Te Ao’s my life as a tunnel video installation; Australian artist Nicholas Mangan’s survey show to larger group exhibitions This Time of Useful Consciousness: Political Ecology Now or The Future of Work, and historical projects: Embodied Knowledge/ Can Tame Anything and, co-curated with Bridget Reweti, Māori Moving Image: An Open Archive.”

“I’ve been really lucky to get to work with many rigorous, innovative artists, and had the opportunity to develop a programme for a wide range of audiences, from Hutt locals to the New Zealand arts community. Working with a collection has been fabulous, and I’m excited that we’ve recently made this available online!”

What have you enjoyed the most about working here?

“Gary’s lemons! Our volunteer Gary represents for me the care and commitment of The Dowse team - he comes in every week to assist our education team and brings with him the best lemons from his tree for everyone to share. This reflects how the whole team here are generous, thoughtful and steadily works towards making the institution the best it can be.

“It’s also a very dynamic place which enables artists to develop and present new work. The freedom to commission new work has been a real bonus, and The Dowse team make these projects not only happen, but look great.”

What are you looking forward to about moving to Christchurch Art Gallery?

“Ōtautahi is an incredibly interesting city right now. I’m looking forward to the new challenges of this; to working with such an esteemed institution as CAG, their fantastic collection, and to be contributing towards the vibrancy of the arts in Christchurch.”

Is there anything else you’d like to say about your time here?

“I’d like to thank all of the artists, curators, institutions and communities that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past few years – I’ve learned a lot in this role and leave with many good memories of my time here.”

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