Vera Mey


NameVera Mey (she/her)
Country of BirthAotearoa
Place of ResidenceLondon
EthnicitiesCambodian, Indonesian
ArtformVisual arts
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Vera Mey is a curator and art historian recognised for her contribution to Southeast Asian art history and the promotion of contemporary art practice from the region. She is curating the 2024 Busan Biennale with Belgian curator Philippe Pirotte and is currently the International Director of Te Tuhi.

From 2011 to 2014, Mey was Assistant Director of ST PAUL St Gallery (AUT), where she worked alongside director Charlotte Huddleston. Her programming there explored ideas that continue to influence curatorial practice in Aotearoa — in particular, the positioning of Aotearoa within a wider Asia Pacific terrain. These programmes included the 2013 Curatorial Symposium, co-organised with Shanghai-based curator Biljana Ciric, which brought international curators and researchers to Aotearoa and examined exhibition histories from the Asia Pacific region.

After leaving ST PAUL St, Mey moved to Singapore to join the founding team (led by ​​curator Ute Meta Bauer) at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. Of her interest in Southeast Asia, Mey has said: “My initial desire to locate myself closer to Southeast Asia began in earnest as a way to get closer to my other homes and closer to what I perceived as a context devoid of the longings for a Eurocentric flavour within institutions and artistic canonisation. How were those in Southeast Asia being part of a global art scene whilst remaining firmly located within its own terms?”

Since 2017, Mey has worked as an independent curator on a number of international exhibitions. She was one of the curators of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, co-hosted by the Mori Art Museum and The National Art Center, Tokyo, in 2017. Billed as the largest show of contemporary art from Southeast Asia to date, SUNSHOWER was organised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Mey grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, where she completed her undergraduate studies and an MA in Museum & Heritage Studies at Victoria University. Throughout her career, she has continued her scholarship, co-founding the journal SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art and contributing to the Getty Foundation initiatives, Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art and Art Schools of Asia.

In 2023, Mey completed a PhD in the History of Art & Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her PhD research looks at tensions between modernity and tradition in Cambodian, Indonesian and Singaporean art during the Cold War era, and the instrumentalisation of art within these political contexts.

Mey is currently based in London.


Key works / presentations

2023 — Spectres of Bandung: A Political Imagination of Asia-Africa, Gropius-Bau, Berlin

2022Elsewhere and nowhere else, Te Tuhi

2021-2022 — Art Schools of Asia, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong

2017SUNSHOWER: Contemporary art from Southeast Asia 1980s to now, Mori Art Museum and National Art Center, Tokyo

2016 Anywhere but here, Bétonsalon - centre d'art et de recherche, Paris

2013 FIELDS: An itinerant inquiry across the Kingdom of Cambodia, ST Paul St Gallery and SA SA BASSAC, Pnom Penh, curated with Erin Gleeson

Related entries

Last updated: 3 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


'Vera Mey and Philippe Pirotte to Co-curate Busan Biennale', Ocula, 2023

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Vera Mey, 'New Zealand as Another Asia', ArtAsiaPacific, Nov/Dec 2012

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Duty of Care, published by ST Paul St Publishing, 2012

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ST PAUL St, 2013 Curatorial Symposium, programme booklet

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In practice: models of cultural exchange and reciprocity, published by ST Paul St Publishing, 2012

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