Tacit Gallery: a fully informed and informative look at contemporary art in Hamilton I think
Let me just preface this piece with a fact: I know jack shit about art. I took an Art History class in high school, until I realised what Art History was and stopped going. I’ve been to a few openings in Hamilton over the past year or so, but I don’t understand any of it.
I understand fancy cheese. I understand free wine. I understand drinking way too much of said free wine at an opening and texting your girlfriend saying you have to leave because the pastor of your church is there and you accidentally drank way too much in the space of an hour and you don’t want him to see you in your current ‘can-barely-walk-down-the-stairs’ state.
But I don’t think I’ll ever understand art. Even so, I like to think of myself as the kind of person that always respects the process, even if I don’t fully ‘get’ the final product. I know what it’s like to feel the support of your community at an event you’ve worked so hard to put together.
After a few years of putting on shows where attendance can range from 3 people to 300, you begin to really appreciate those people that take a risk by leaving their house and engaging with things they usually wouldn’t see. Those people are the ones that keep us going.
Tacit Gallery opened up late last year on 223 Victoria Street. It’s a small room with rough wooden floors and white walls and shares it’s home with a clothing library, a fashion designer, a slew of local artists, and of course the curators of the space, a collective called The Creators.
“I started a gallery in Hamilton firstly because it's where I'm currently based, and secondly because people in Hamilton are so hungry for art,” says Ellie, one of the folks that runs Tacit. “There's very few art galleries here. In Wellington or Auckland I can find five galleries on one street. Hamilton's not small, but in total there's only about five galleries. I'm still learning, but it seemed like a real need I wanted to help meet.”
Every few weeks, a new collection of art is put together by Ellie and Nicole. From what I
understand, the role of a curator is to develop a ‘theme’ for the exhibition, seek out artists, collect pieces of art and give away free cheese and wine to the people that come to look at it. It’s almost like an event manager putting on a gig, except at gigs people pay for wine, and there’s rarely any cheese.
The latest installation at Tacit is called “I understand if you’re busy” - a collection of art around the theme of anxiety.
As well as your traditional ‘paint on canvas’ art that people like me know about, Tacit is the home to zines, embroideries, looping videos and a whole slew of other shit I’ve never seen before.
“My goal with Tacit gallery is to encourage Hamiltonians to look at art from outside Hamilton, to be challenged by it and think critically about the way they see things,” Ellie says. Taking on any creative venture is a risk - especially opening an art gallery, especially knowing you probably won’t make any money, and especially in a city where art isn’t necessarily as appreciated as other centres in Aotearoa. I think I’ve learned over the past month that the only things worth chasing in life are risky, and scary, and even just plain reckless. Without the creatives and risk takers that are dragging Hamilton in to the future, we could end up being a giant Rototuna. And nobody wants that.
I hope Hamilton in the future has had a good kick up the arse. I hope people can turn their hunger for change into being empowered to make things happen themselves. And I hope art, and imagining and dreaming the world to be different, holds a place of importance in that process.