Raglan Wharf Gallery

Jacqui from the Local Rag caught up with Elisabeth about the gallery’s progress and the exciting year ahead.

With two degrees in fine art and a fathomless appetite for art, when Sharon O’Brien retired, she oscillated between pursuing art as an artist or opening a gallery. She opted for a contemporary gallery space by the sea and The Wharf Gallery opened its doors in 2020. During 6 weeks total, a team of local workers redesigned the space to a high-end gallery standard: painted the walls white, built internal walls, refitted the floors and added lighting systems. 

Equipped with a background in cinematography and literature, Elisabeth Denis works hand in hand with Sharon to organise thought-provoking narratives. Jacqui from the The Local Rag caught up with Elisabeth about the gallery’s progress and the exciting year ahead.

You have been open and operating for more than two years. What have you managed to achieve in that period?

 We’re coming to the 3rd year lease now. We’ve managed to connect with numerous up and coming, and established contemporary artists in New-Zealand. We have hosted exhibitions for regional and established artists. 

What can we expect for the rest of this year?

For the rest of the year, you can expect to see exhibitions that would usually take place in the capital cities, but here, in between our walls. 

How do you generally choose the artists that exhibit at the gallery?

At first, we approached artists from a broad spectrum, working with a lot of mediums, and mainly locals. Now we have established artists coming to us. For example, we had an inquiry from Vietnam and then from Bangkok this week; overseas artists are now asking to exhibit here. 

What kind of experience do you hope your visitors have ?

One of our primary aims is to connect ideas and concerns rather than solely exhibiting work that is about aesthetics. We want visitors to ponder and reflect when being in the gallery. 

What do you think works well with the location at the Wharf?

We don’t think the location matters, it is about who we are and what we do. We hope that people will come visit the gallery, no matter where we are. But we do absolutely enjoy the connection we have with the workers at neighbouring shops that we get to see everyday. 

How can people follow you online and on social?

We have a website and social media.