Emil McAvoy is an artist, art writer and lecturer based in Auckland, New Zealand. In particular, his creative practice examines the cultural roles of artists – critically engaging the artist as medium, activist, citizen and public intellectual. His work seeks to directly address contemporary cultural and political issues circulating in the public sphere, and manifests in a range of media including photography, video, painting and publishing.

McAvoy is a Lecturer in Photo Media at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design, and also works in the arts, education and GLAM sectors. Emil graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Auckland University of Technology in 2002, and a Master of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2013.

He is the recipient of a number of awards and scholarships, including a Goethe Institut Scholarship for Cultural Ambassadors (Berlin, 2019), Wallace Art Award (2011), University of Auckland Summer Research Scholarship (2010-11), and the Archives New Zealand 50th Anniversary Scholarship (2009). He was a finalist in the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award (2016), National Contemporary Art Award (2014, 2007), and Wallace Art Awards (2010, 2007).

He has exhibited, screened and performed work across New Zealand and is represented in public and private collections. Exhibition highlights include This is New Zealand, City Gallery Wellington (2018), $1/Word: A Living Wage for New Zealand Art Writers, Projects Programme, Auckland Art Fair (2018), This Might Be The Place, Ilam Campus Gallery, University of Canterbury (2017), this is the cup of your heart, Dowse Museum (2016), and PRISMISM, Enjoy Public Art Gallery (2014).

His art writing includes essays, reviews, interviews, art journalism and editing for publishers including City Gallery Wellington, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, The Suter Art Gallery, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Art New Zealand, Art News New Zealand, Contemporary Hum, Pantograph Punch, PhotoForum, EyeContact, Enjoy Gallery Occasional Journal, Writing Around Sound, Two Rooms, Tim Melville Gallery, Art + Object, Bowerbank Ninow, Webb’s, Art Collector, Ocula, Urbis, Interior, and a number of independent artist commissions.