Benjamin Work 

Ha’a Lātūhifo / Orkney

b. 1979, Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland 

Benjamin Work is an artist, Tāmaki Makaurau-born and raised, with Tongan and Scottish heritage. Work’s evolution exemplifies the new trajectories of artists reared on American sub/pop culture, while also explicitly exploring the complexities of both cultural institutions and the Moana Oceania diaspora. Drawing on his Tongan heritage, Work has pushed his art in new directions over the last decade. Inspired by his research throughout museums across the globe; that house Tongan iconography, found on cultural treasures such as ‘akau tau (war clubs), his refined, graphic paintings have sought to find new spaces and ways for audiences to engage with Tonga’s visual culture, both inside institutions and on the streets. 

Selected Exhibitions

2023   Bodies of water, made of land, Te Tuhi  Gallery, Auckland [duo]

Tukufakaholo, Bergman Gallery, Auckland  [group]

Bodies of Water, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch [duo]

'Inasi - First Fruits, Māngere Arts Centre, Auckland [group]

Aotearoa Art Fair,  Bergman Gallery, Auckland [group]

2022     To'a Motu - Bergman Gallery, Auckland [solo]

MOTUTAPU - Te Uru Contemporary, Auckland [duo]

Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars, Bergman Gallery, Auckland [group]

2021     The Most Dedicated – The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington 

Hake Project, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch [solo]

Life After Death, Franklin Gallery, Auckland [group]

2020     TATOU 2 – Bergman Gallery, Cook Islands [group] 

2019     Auckland Art Fair – Bergman Gallery [solo] 

Art in the dark II, Me’a’ofa Gallery, Nuku’alofa, Tonga  [group]

2018     Write it on the land, seal it on the heart, Te Tuhi Gallery, Auckland [solo]

MPA#1, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands [group]

2017     Whenua Fonua 'Enua, Malcolm Smith Gallery, Auckland  [solo]

Return to Havaiki, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands  [solo]

Post Graffiti Pacific, TSB Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland  [group]

2016     The Glorious Children of Te Tumu, Corbans Art Estate, Auckland  [solo]

For King and Country, Bergman Gallery, Cook Islands [solo]

The Glorious Children of Te Tumu - Salisbury Int. Arts Fest, England [solo]

METfriday, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA  [group]

2015     Ma'ae Tu'i o e Fonua, Māngere Arts Centre, Auckland  [solo]

PGP, AMbush Gallery, Sydney, Australia [group]

Toutoutā, Olivia Laita Gallery, Auckland [solo]

2014     I see red, I see red, I see red, FRESH Gallery Ōtara, Auckland  [solo]

Tauhi VāFRESH Gallery Ōtara, Auckalnd [group]

2013     If These Walls Could Talk, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre [group]

Serigraph show, Olivia Laita Gallery, Auckland [group]

Graffiato, The Storehouse, Taupo [group]

2012     No'o Fakataha , Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland [group]

What would Jim Do, FRESH Gallery Ōtara, Auckland [group]

2011     Primary Flight, ART Basel Miami, USA [group]

Urban Interventions 

2011     Life line Mural , Auckland  

2012     Bradley Lane Festival, Auckland 

2014     Fort Lane Mural, Auckland Art Week 

2015     Alfresco, Cross Street Mural, Auckland   

2016     Spanish Harlem mural, Outreach programme, The MET NYC, USA

               Aotea Squared, Auckland Arts Festival

2017     Graffiato Street Art Festival, Taupō

2020    Papaioea Mural Festival, Palmerston North

2021     The Most Dedicated, Street Art Festival, Lower Hutt

Selected Collections
Ministry of Foreign Affairs MFAT

Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand

TSB Wallace Arts Trust , Auckland

Auckland Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Welt Museum, Vienna, Austria

Artist in Residency
CMBB Para Site International Art Residency (PS IAR) 2019,  Hong Kong

MOTUTAPU  2022 Published by RIM Books, ISBN 978-1-99-116520-6

Whenua Fonua 'Enua  2017 Published by RIM Books, ISBN 978-0-473-41566-2

Selected Commisions

2021    Motutapu II –  Floor to wall mural, Canterbury Museum 

              Etu Pasifika Health Centre - Christchurch

             The new Media Design School – Wynyard Quarter, Auckland City

2016   Tapa collaboration with Fauniteni o e Vai Mo’ui, Manukau Institute of Technology building, Auckland

2015   Tu’i Tonga, Tu’i Ha’atakalaua, Tu’i Kanokupolu – 2015, Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Speaking engagements 

2019  Pacific Futures conference - Nuku’alofa, Tonga

2018  Postgrad Fine Arts - Whitecliffe School of Arts

2017  Undergrad Visual Arts - Unitec, Auckland

2016  METfriday, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA 

             Pacific Arts Association - Auckland Museum   

2015  Pacific Arts Association - Museo De America, Madrid


2023  Finalist - National Contemporary Art Awards

2022  Runner up - Estuary Art and Ecology Award

2021  Finalist - Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 

Using Format