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Creatively Christchurch

Naomi Van Den Broek – Artist, Singer and Performer

How would you describe what you do?

By day I’m a professional bossy britches and problem solver managing UC’s campus at the Arts Centre. By night I’m a creative person who performs, writes, makes thing using fibre and threads, and generally doesn’t feel fully alive unless the day has involved some creativity.

What was your most recent project?

I’m currently working on a show called Songs For Fallen Women which is an evening of theatrical style song with a seven piece ensemble at The Piano on July 3. I also finished an improvised quilt earlier in the year, which is now bringing great joy in winter.

What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?

A project from WORD in 2018 called Free Radicals. It was a show I developed with Erin Harrington. We invited female composers / songwriters to make a new work for the show celebrating a woman or women from the field of science and technology. It remains one of my most favourite creative and performance experiences.

What is essential for creatives to have in their life?

Time, inspiration, and other creative people.

What inspires you about Ōtautahi?

How committed the creative people I know here are to the place. Also the water and the sky.

What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?

Be yourself. You can only ever be a poor imitation of someone else, but always the best version of you.

What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?

That if you’re a confident performer you’re an extrovert. I may be at home on the stage, but the most terrifying thing you can do to me is invite me to a party! I combine my moments of extreme energy output (performing) with long stretches at a sewing machine listening to audio books to keep things in balance.

What Christchurch artists do you most admire?

I love the textile art of Saskia Bunce Rath, Sarah Amazinia’s incredible wreaths, Caitlyn Clarke’s ceramics, Clare Logan’s oil paintings and one day I’d love to own one of Lisa Patterson’s mixed media sculptures. In terms of performance, I have immense respect for LA Mitchell’s song writing, Julia Harvie and Robyn Jordaan’s dance and choreographic work, and am a regular at Little Andromeda where pretty much everything cool in Christchurch theatre seems to be happening.

What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?

The recent Louise Henderson retrospective at CAG was incredible. I went so many times. Aretha Franklin’s version of Somewhere always reduces me to tears. The textile art of Bisa Butler literally took my breath away the first time I saw it, and continues to do so every time I look at her work.

What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?

That my voice and perspective are completely unique and there’s a place and space for it in the world.

What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?

Vintage Wonderland on Ferry Road for beautiful vintage fabrics and notions.

Journalist, producer, writer


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