What Sparks the Words?
6am 24 May 2023
Writers are inspired and challenged by the visual arts, whether it be for their politics, their abstraction, their humour, or through creative and productive friendships with the artists themselves. But what does ‘responding’ to an artwork really mean? What are a writer’s specific considerations for different commissions and publications? Beyond the essay, what is the potential of fiction, poetry, and other literary forms to respond to a work of visual art? And what is the role of the reader, as the third party in a collaboration between a writer and an artist? A starting point for this kōrero led by Thomasin Sleigh will be the recently published Legacies Reader, which includes Tina Makereti’s short story, Black Milk. Makereti will be joined by writers Gregory Kan and Gwynneth Porter to discuss their writing and its dynamic and evolving relationship to the visual arts.
Thomasin Sleigh is writer, art critic, and editor. She has written about visual art and culture for many publications including Un Magazine, Eyeline, and Art Asia Pacific. This month she will be releasing her third novel The Words for Her with Lawrence & Gibson. In 2022 Thomasin was CIRCUIT's Writer in Residence, during which time she produced The Legacies Reader.
Tina Makereti writes novels, short fiction and creative nonfiction that considers questions around cultural identity, history, prejudice and coloniality in Aotearoa. She also has a strong interest in writing that explores unknowability and the uncanny. In 2022, her essay Lumpectomy won the Landfall Essay Prize. She is of Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi-Matakore and Pākehā descent.
Gregory Kan is a poet, essayist and arts writer who has published two poetry collections. His first, This Paper Boat (Auckland UP, 2016) was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Prize in 2013 and for the Best Poetry category at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Gwynneth Porter (b.1970, Aberystwyth, Wales) is a writer and editor from Ōtautahi Christchurch in Aotearoa New Zealand. Writing essays since the mid-1990s, her practice has involved persistent experimentation with forms, methodologies and subject positions – auto-theory, ficto-criticism and dialogue – for art writing and book development with artists.
The Legacies Reader will be available to purchase on the night, and otherwise via our online shop as well as in the gallery during normal opening hours.