Depot Artspace

Cultural Icons

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The Depot Artspace Cultural Icons project celebrates people who have contributed significantly to New Zealand's creative landscape. It is an inspirational series of recorded interviews that share the histories, stories and experiences of some of our most significant visual artists, architects, publishers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, arts commentators and philanthropists.

The interviews are between friends and contemporaries and form a detailed cultural genealogy. Warm, informed and often intimate, the dialogues are a rare insight into these iconic people's creative journeys, their youthful ambitions, their hurdles, successes and their contributions to New Zealand's arts and culture scene.

They serve to show that New Zealand has a distinctive and evolving culture. So far we have undertaken 65 interviews which are viewed by more than 4000 people each month. Interviews include Stanley Palmer, Ian Wedde, Denys Trussell, Claudia Pond Eyley, Nigel Brown, Hamish Keith, Roger Horrocks, Barry Brickell, Riemke Ensing, Eve de Castro Robinson, Helen Pollock and Gordon McLauchlan.

"(These interviews) constitute an invaluable national resource for the benefit of the public at largeā€¦ an acknowledgement of the work of people who have brought about change and development in New Zealand."- Rodney Wilson Former director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

These interviews are accessible online and provided free of charge, a valuable and accessible archive for researchers, students and anyone interested in the New Zealand vernacular and the people who either gave form or an insight to it.

"This magnificent site is a great resource for New Zealand educators and learners."- National Library of New Zealand.

Funding has so far come from a number of sources and is now expended yet we still have many Cultural Icons waiting to be interviewed. We aim to fundraise enough for 5 new interviews and YOU can help to keep this important project and resource alive!

Each interview costs $1000 to prepare which covers filming, sound recording, editing, uploading and a small koha for the interviewer and interviewee,so every little bit counts. As a donor, the Depot Artspace will keep you informed on openings, exhibitions and happenings at our creative community. You will be the first to know about the latest Cultural Icons interviews, news from the Depot Artspace and special events.

Cultural Icons

Depot Art Space


  • Latest Cultural Icon: Annette Isbey (Part 2)


    In this second installment of the interview between painter Annette Isbey and Denys Trussell we look at some of Isbey’s work as she explores the influences, processes and memories behind them.

    We discover the childhood that inspired her respect and later inclusion of animals in her work. She talks about the influence of a trip to Latin America, and some other remembrances from her life and the art theories (such as postmodernism) that have shaped her as an artist.

    Watch the preview and full video online here.


    Latest Cultural Icon: Annette Isbey (Part 2)
  • Latest Cultural Icon: Annette Isbey


    In the first of two episodes, Cultural Icons’ Patron Denys Trussell interviews painter Annette Isbey at her studio.

    She speaks of having grown up in rural New Zealand as the worst of the Depression in the 1930s and the spectre of World War II unfolded around her.

    Watch the preview and full video online here.

    Latest Cultural Icon: Annette Isbey
  • Depot Artspace Exhibition Openings


    To celebrate Matariki Festival, the Depot Artspace has two shows opening this weekend and you're invited!

    Image: Béatrice Carlson - Who Is The Pest, I Am The Pest! (2010)

    Depot Artspace Exhibition Openings
  • Cultural Icons Autumn 2013 Newsletter / Gifford Jackson Exhibition


    We have just released our first Cultural Icons Newsletter that is in print and in colour!

    Our Autumn 2013 issue includes a tribute to Rodney Wilson, Denys Trussell’s new poetry book, Nigel Brown’s interview with Forbes Magazine, exhibitions from Dean Buchanan, Barry Brickell, Gifford Jackson, Helen Pollock and Bob Ellis along with much more exciting news from our Cultural Icons! You can read our PDF version online or come into the Depot Artspace and pick one up.

    Also a wonderful event is happening today! The opening of Gifford Jackson: Women and Places 1955 - 2013 is at 11.30am, so come along for morning tea or pop in anytime between now and the 13th of June. 

    Image: Gifford Jackson - Martha Branch (1964)

    Cultural Icons Autumn 2013 Newsletter / Gifford Jackson Exhibition
  • Rodney Wilson: Tribute to a Practical Visionary


    Rodney Wilson, one of New Zealand’s most influential museum and gallery directors died on 27 April 2013.

    After a long battle with cancer, Rodney Wilson, Cultural Icon, interviewer and a great friend of the Cultural Icons project has passed away. His influential career in the cultural field saw him lead a series of organisations, museums and galleries in a manner that revolutionised the way New Zealand displayed, consumed and distributed art and historical artifacts.

    In June 2011 a tribute exhibition Rodney Wilson: Tribute to a Practical Visionary was mounted at Satellite gallery. The exhibition which features an assemblage of personal accolades, anecdotes and acknowledgements from his friends, contemporaries and colleagues has been re-mounted within the Depot Artspace Outerspace gallery to pay homage to a man who lived a life full of ‘Vision, Belief and Courage’.

    The Rodney Wilson tribute will remain on display in the Outerspace Gallery until mid-May. Rodney was interviewed by Hamish Keith about his outstanding life and career for the Cultural Icons series. You can watch the full Cultural Icons episode here.

    Read the full Rodney Wilson article on our Museum of the Vernacular blog.

    Rodney Wilson: Tribute to a Practical Visionary

Depot Artspace

The Depot is a multidisciplinary arts community with a philosophy which acknowledges the creative as without boundary in concept, feature or form.

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