Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Director Rhana Devenport is heading for Australia to take up the position of Director, Art Gallery of South Australia. After five years in the top role, she leaves the Gallery on 21 September.
While looking forward to an exciting new challenge across the Tasman as the first woman to head an Australian gallery, Devenport said she remains “a strong and enduring advocate” for Auckland Art Gallery.
“I have tremendous faith in, and profound admiration for the Gallery, its people, its legacy, its collections and its positive cultural impact on Aotearoa New Zealand. I have learned a tremendous amount during these five years and have been impressed daily by the astounding levels of professionalism and commitment of my team.
“I am proud of what I have achieved during this time and have enjoyed making what I trust will be seen as a lasting and positive contribution to the Gallery’s success and future.”
According to RFA Chief Executive Chris Brooks, her impact has been significant, both on the strategic direction of the Gallery and on its staff and stakeholders.
“Rhana’s leadership has positioned the Gallery for success, establishing strong long-term partnerships, philanthropic support and a range of engagement programmes as part of her transformational legacy,” he said.
“This includes the introduction of the Advancement Team and a highly successful new Membership programme, together with Contemporary Benefactors and International Ambassadors programmes. Rhana also established the Public Engagement Team with a strong commitment to outreach across Auckland, especially for our Māori, Pasifika and Asian communities.
“As well as leaving the Gallery with positive local stakeholder relationships, she has expanded the international reach of the Gallery significantly.”
Brooks cites the highly successful Gottfried Lindauer exhibitions presented in Berlin, Pilsen and San Francisco, and the Gallery’s partnership with Creative New Zealand to present New Zealand’s official pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2017 in Venice as examples.
With strong visitor numbers and world class exhibition programmes, Rhana has made a lasting contribution and helped to cement Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as a cultural leader that truly strengthens and enriches our communities.
"We wish her every success and thank her for her outstanding leadership over the last five years,” said Brooks.
Recent acclaimed Auckland Art Gallery projects include Light Show, The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate, The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, Lee Mingwei and His Relations, The Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence and the recently opened exhibition, Gordon Walters: New Vision.
Alongside these major exhibitions the Gallery has hosted a series of highly engaging family projects such as Cubic Structural Evolution Project by Olafur Eliasson, Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room and the current From Pillars to Post: Project Another Country by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan.