Transcripts: Nayan Patel, Freedoom 

Theo Macdonald talks to Nayan Patel about Freedoom, a new artist-run initiative in Tāmaki Makaurau

Transcripts | Nayan Patel, Freedoom | Tāmaki Makaurau 

23.03.22 | written by Theo Macdonald

Transcripts is a series of interviews conducted by Theo Macdonald originally for 95bFM’s Artbank programme, transcribed for Vernacular.  

Listen to the original interview on Artbank

This interview was conducted on Friday, February 4th, 2022.
Aired on 95bFM’s Artbank on Sunday, February 6th, 2022.  

Theo Macdonald: What made you want to start Freedoom now?

Nayan Patel: I’ve been trying to open a space for a while now, and I’ve come close three or four times only to have it fall through at the last second. But this time it worked.

One of our flatmates moved out of our apartment about four weeks ago, and we didn’t get a new flatmate so we had this extra room. It felt like the perfect time, so one evening I moved all the shit from the lounge into the spare room, and tried turning the lounge into a gallery, and it worked. The space was actually huge. There are workable walls, and lots of floor space, so I thought, Why not? 

TM: Are you the sole person running the gallery?

NP: Yeah, I’m doing all the organising, but my friends help out along the way, with moving and all that stuff. I’m doing the gallery all by myself.

TM: There’s a history of apartment galleries. Were you thinking about the pressures of an artist-run space, and what artist-run spaces can be in art scenes?

NP: Kind of, yeah. I recognise that there’s not many in Auckland at the moment, but there’s a few around. Parasite just closed, which was really sad. That was my go-to for the moment. But I didn’t think too much about the pressure. I thought I might as well do it since I have the drive at the moment, then it all sort of fell into place. 
Vacuum, Kristina Nagel, 2022, installation image. 
TM: You had two shows with Parasite. Did being involved with that space give you a sense of what it takes to run your own gallery?

NP: It gave me good insight, working with Dan Sanders for those two shows. It made me realise that I could do it, that I could get another artist to do a show and be happy with the way I’d organised it. It’s going alright at the moment, I’ve had to change the schedule a bit, which is quite a bit of work but still doable. I’ve got five more shows for the rest of the year. At this point. Subject to change.

TM: Is that to take you through to the end of the year?

NP: Yeah. I’m going to do a couple at a time and then take a break in-between. I also work day-to-day at my other job so it’s just about balancing that.

TM: There are two other artist-runs that are opening. Why do you think this is? There’s a need, but there was a need last year as well.

NP: Yeah, there was a need last year, but last year it was a lot harder because no one knew what was happening and the future was less certain. I don’t know why they’re all popping up now, it’s good though, I like more spaces and being able to see more stuff. Can’t guarantee i’ll make it to every opening though.

TM: Could you talk about the name of the gallery?

NP: I wanted to call it Freedom, but then I thought maybe that was too positive, or posi. I like the double-E and double-O, it’s strong visually. The word has also become very topical as of late huh…

TM: There was a strong visual character to the gallery before you launched, in a string of coy Instagram posts. There’s a degree of performance to running a gallery, right?

NP: Definitely. I am a very impatient person so I tend to put things out as soon as I finish them. That’s sort of the whole Instagram thing, me coming up with ideas in the middle of the night and putting them out there.

日高夏眠 High sun summer nap, JingCheng Zhao, 2022, installation image.  
TM: Do you want Freedoom to have a specific character in the artists you show?

NP: The vibe I’m going for at the moment is that I’m trying to get artists to do shows that they wouldn’t usually do, if they were given space at other galleries. JingCheng Zhao is mostly a video and installation artist, but she’s been painting the whole time, so I said, “Come up and do a painting show.” I want to give the artists more leeway in what they can do, and in showing ideas that they are less sure of.

TM: Why did you approach her for your premiere show?

NP: I went to Elam with Jing, and we were there together for the whole four and a bit years. I saw her practice develop and I loved the work. I thought she’d be a great first show.

TM: Are the artists you’ve lined up for the rest of the year mostly from your cohort?

NP: There’s a couple more local artists and then I have some international shows planned for later in the year, which is exciting. The next show opens on the 4th of March.

Article image: V4, Kristina Nagel, 2022, latex print on vinyl. All photos by Nayan Patel, courtesy of Freedoom.

Currently showing at Freedoom is VACUUM (V4CUUM) by Kristina Nagel, on until April 8th. 

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