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Buy, Borrow, Break; The Dowse Collection

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An actor, a comedian, and a politician walk into The Dowse Collection… Does this sound like the set-up to a terrible joke? 

Join Chris Parker, Jo Randerson, Tamatha Paul, Dr Chelsea Nichols and host Finn McCahon-Jones in a game of difficult ultimatums as they choose three works from The Dowse Collection to buy, borrow, and break.

The Dowse Collection is home to over 3,500 artworks. Established in the 1970s with a significant focus on studio craft, it is one of the largest collections of this type in Aotearoa. Join this highly entertaining line up as they fuse personal storytelling with a deep dive into some of the remarkable pieces in our fascinating, diverse and offbeat public art collection.

Chris Parker is an award-winning actor and comedian working across television, theatre and comedy, with credits including TV3’s Golden Boy, Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, and Silo Theatre’s Hudson and Halls Live! Chris was named in the The Herald Top Five Entertainment Heroes of 2020 after he spent the six week national lockdown sharing his felting hobby on Instagram resulting in twenty thousand new followers, a hat made of felt creations, and two acquisitions to purchase the hat from national museums.

Tamatha Paul (Ngāti Awa, Waikato Tainui) is an activist and politician who currently serves on the Wellington City Council. Elected at age 22, she became the second-youngest councillor when taking office 18 months ago. Prior to this, she was the first wahine Māori President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association. Tamatha works closely on issues of climate change, sexual violence and mental health. She also draws and paints, and has a bulldog named Biggie.

Finn McCahon-Jones is a collector, curator and a maker. Finn has held positions at a number of galleries and museums including director/ curator of Te Toi Uku: Crown Lynn Museum. He spent 11 years working at Auckland Museum where he gained first hand knowledge of the decorative arts collection. Finn also works as an artist under the pseudonym Finn Ferrier, currently exploring the materiality of rope. Recent exhibitions include Finn Ferrier: Soft Garniture at Te Uru Gallery, Auckland, In The Archive: Colin McCahon’s Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery, (co-curated with Caroline McBride).

Jo Randerson is an award-winning fiction writer, playwright, theatre director and performer. She is the founder and artistic director of independent theatre company, Barbarian Productions. ‘The Janet Frame of contemporary Wellington theatre,’ her distinctive artistic voice has received many accolades including a Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, Robert Burns Fellowship and 2020 nomination for the Dominion Post Wellingtonian of the Year. In 2021 Jo received the ONZM for services to the performing arts. During lockdown Jo created ‘Things at Home’, an online video series exploring the taxonomy of her large private collection of second-hand knick-knacks. Episodes include ‘Funny Little Guys’, ‘Driftwood Googlies’ and ‘Things I don’t Love’.

Dr Chelsea Nichols is Senior Curator here at The Dowse, as well as writer and art historian behind The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things, an online project exploring the strange place between art and curiosities. With a PhD from the University of Oxford on human curiosities in contemporary art, her mission in life is to get more people into art, through a very weird-shaped door probably hidden somewhere in a haunted house.

This programme is part of A Speaker Series, 50 Years of Remarkable Ideas, presented by The Dowse Foundation – where we celebrate and reflect on a jam-packed half century of discussion, exploration and provocation at The Dowse Art Museum.