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Smuggled tapestry exhibition draws national visitors

Arts Events and Exhibitions Local News

Smuggled tapestry exhibition draws national visitors

An exhibition of tapestries smuggled out of Afghanistan at NPDC’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre attracted around 21,800 visitors with around 16,000 coming from outside Taranaki.

The There Is No Other Home But This exhibition ran at the Gallery March to mid-June and featured works from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington-based Areez Katki, and Sydney-based artist Khadim Ali.

Spanning embroidery, sculpture, painting and animation, the works connected contemporary life with the two artists’ shared Persian heritage.

“The Gallery has long been a destination for cultural tourism, and this was underscored when Lonely Planet acknowledged the Len Lye Centre in 2017’s second best regional destination accolade,” Gallery Director Zara Stanhope says.

“The strong numbers through this exhibition signals that the Gallery and contemporary art have a role to play in attracting visitors to Taranaki, and supporting the regional economy, and can attract a large and engaged audience based on our exhibition programmes, despite changes in visitor patterns as we all navigate Covid-19.”

Data provided by Venture Taranaki supports this, finding that the region was one of the fastest growing in terms of visitors spend over the past year, up 10% year-on-year to the end of February, with culture and tourism experiences amongst the fastest growing sectors.

“Many of our visitors are saying they haven’t been to Taranaki in years, and have been impressed by what they’ve found here, including the Gallery, where our audience survey has found a record 93.6 percent of visitors are having a positive experience,” Zara says.

Find out more about upcoming exhibitions and activities at

Fast Facts

  • Govett-Brewster Art Gallery opened in 1970 and the Len Lye Centre opened in 2015.
  • The gallery attracts around 60,000 visitors a year, with most coming from outside the district.
  • The gallery also runs an art and design store, cinema, and holds regular public programmes relating to the exhibitions.