Art gallery Sumer has been an important presence in Tauranga’s art scene since 2018. Now, it’s moved to Tāmaki Makaurau, opening its doors this week near Britomart on Beach Road.
The first exhibition in the new space, Nova, brings together more than 20 artists, combining established names such as Australian artist Huseyin Sami with emerging local talents like Anto Yeldezian and Ava Trevella.
“We wanted a name that could somehow express our aspirations for the new Sumer in Tāmaki,” gallery director Dan du Bern tells Broadsheet. “Nova represents a bright star, a vibrant flash, and reflects our intention to make a strong impact as a new gallery. While some featured artists may not be young themselves, they will be new to many audiences, and we believe it’s important for people to discover them.”
The new gallery space blends old and new. Housed in a 130-year-old storehouse, it has a rich history of serving nearby railyards and docks, and the design concept aimed to preserve this historic charm.
Du Bern designed the space with some help from his Wellington-based architect brother Nick du Bern. “We didn’t want to disrupt the space too much,” Dan explains. “We installed a classic white cube that appears to float detached from the gallery’s exterior walls, giving it a unique, almost alien-like presence within the building.”
Inside, you’ll encounter a striking mix of elements and the addition of a mezzanine area with a floating wall at the back maximises the exhibition space.
For the gallery facade, du Bern once again worked with Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg. Known for his bright, geometric wall paintings, van der Ploeg also created a black and white mural for Sumer’s Tauranga location. This time, the duo went for a bold purple that slashes sharply across the white exterior.
“We wanted to inject some colour into the area since there wasn’t much of it in Britomart,” says du Bern. “Ironically, the previous tenants of our initial gallery location had painted its exterior purple, so we decided to embrace it. We intensified the hue and gave it a fresh, angular look. I love how something that was originally there, painted over by us, has now resurfaced in a brighter form.”
Du Bern sees new horizons and opportunities for artists in Auckland. “We wanted to reach a larger audience. Auckland has a thriving art scene, with four art schools and a strong collecting culture which offers more chances for our artists – including exposure to visiting curators from overseas.”
His goal is to become known for showcasing some of the best young artists in the country. “While our gallery may not appeal to everyone, we aim to cultivate a dedicated following. You can expect a diverse range of exciting artworks, including pieces that push boundaries. I’m looking forward to supporting talented artists and contributing to Auckland’s vibrant art community.”
Nova runs from May 31–July 1.
27 Beach Road, Auckland CBD
+64 22 311 8312