Video: Sneak peek into Te Papa’s new $8.4m art gallery labelled a game changer for New Zealand art

Source: 1News

From traditional, to contemporary, Te Papa's new $8.4 million art gallery Toi Art aims to cater for all art lovers.

"I think Te Papa has been in an experimentation phase since it opened and we have kind of been building towards this," Head of Art Charlotte Davy said.

The gallery, which sits over two floors and takes up nearly 4000 square metres, will emphasise New Zealand and Pacific art in a way not seen here for a long time.

It's something art critics have been calling for.

"There's going to be a lot of expectation about whether they're going to fulfil their role as the national art gallery," Art Professor Linda Tyler said.

"They swallowed up the original national art gallery in 1998 and they've been a lot of critics that have been looking for that role to actually assert itself," she said.

But Te Papa says the gallery will cater for all art lovers.

"We really welcome critical thinking, it's one of the reasons that we are an art gallery, we welcome hearing people challenge and consider and if we're not hearing those voices and the critics then we are probably doing something wrong," Ms Davy said.

Social Practice artist Tiffany Singh has two major pieces being exhibited and hopes the interactive art will encourage people to get more involved.

"I definitely think it's a significant shift for Kiwi art in New Zealand to have it prioritised like this."

Toi Art will be officially opened tomorrow night by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and will open to the public on Saturday.