Artist Biography

Karen Sewell is a visual artist who lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, New Zealand.  Sewell graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (with Honours) in 2016 from Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. 


Sewell is interested in the intersection of art with spiritual experience. She aspires to create artworks that activate spaces for viewer/participants to be able to experience liminal moments of awareness of the unknown, an awakening to wonder, or numinous experiences.  “Numinous” speaks to everything within the realm of our experience which cannot be quantified, explained, or contained.  Our intuition, and our feeling-states, our connection to the cosmos, and for some a sense of divine. Viewers are invited to participate in the installations in some way; for reflection, rest or creative activity.  Sewell works across multiple media including sculpture, installation, painting, drawing and photography, specialising in installation practice.


She was the recipient of the Premier Award in the Waitakere Trust Art Award in 2011, and  selected as a finalist in awards including: The Wallace Art Awards in 2013, The NZ Portrait Awards in 2012 and the Glaister Ennor Graduate Awards in 2016.  Sewell has exhibited work across New Zealand with a highlight being Awakenings IV, 2020 at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell for Artweek Auckland.  Her work is represented in private collections including The Wallace Arts Trust.


In addition to her creative practice, Sewell founded The Bonfire and now facilitates this national artist network. The aims of The Bonfire are to assist and support the thriving of other artists, through online blog posts and face to face regular meet-ups involving workshops, retreats and events.

For 2021 Karen is the Artist in Residence at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.