Cleo Barnett was born in Papamoa, New Zealand and is currently based between Auckland, New Zealand; Brooklyn, New York, Seattle, Washington and the Internet. She is a photo, video and installation based artist who uses research, her surroundings and her lens to explore methods of exposure, human encounters and the poetics of space. As a cultural worker and independent creative her work is research driven, collaboratory and site-specific, working with the ephemeral and traces thereof. The primary modalities she works within are festivals, exhibitions, immersive installations, and lens based mediums.

Recently Cleo was awarded the The Loisaida, Inc Center 2016 Fellowship where she will be researching and working as an artist in residence. She has also taken on the role as teacher for ArtStart working in Harlem, New York. In 2009, Cleo founded First Thursdays Auckland, an interdisciplinary initiative to support space creation and collaborative cultural production in New Zealand. Since then her work has served as a catalyst for city wide art festivals, socially engaged exhibitions, public art programs including Art Week Auckland and All Fresco in New Zealand and nowHERE in Seattle, as well as an emerging international art practice. She has demonstrated high levels of competency navigating between private and public sectors, producing city wide campaigns within the fields of art, fashion and politics.

Cleo graduated from the University of Auckland in 2013 with a double major in Political Science and International Business. She is currently a graduate candidate at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts Department of Art and Public Policy (May 2016) and continues to work as a freelance producer, curator and creative consultant in New Zealand and the United States.




Wāhine – Women - Depot Artspace Book Publication, May 2015

Cross Street - Collectif Magazine Editorial Shoot, May 2015

Kingbrown Magazine - Writer, 2012, 2013, 2014 

The Vernacularist - Issue Two, True Community?, Depot Artspace Publication 2014

The Lost Springs - Collectif Magazine,  May 2014

Miss June - Presence Magazine, Editorial Shoot,  June 2014

First Thursdays Festival on K’Road – TVNZ Breakfast Show Interview, 2013

Style File – Groove Guide Feature, 2013

Presence Issue 11, Editorial Photographer, New Zealand, November 2012

Neighborhood – TV1 Feature Feature, 2012

Draw Together – Weekend Leisure Feature, NZ Herald, 2012

A Quick Word – Idealog interview, 2012

Cleo Barnett from First Thursdays Likes – Gather and Hunt Feature, 2012

Little Lotus Project 2011 – Radio Ponsonby Interview, 2011

Giving a little goes a long way – The Big Idea Interview, 2011

Cleo Barnett on the Long Black -  Radio Ponsonby Interview, 2011

Mini-interview: Cleo Barnett – Blukeko Interview, 2011

First Thursdays – Second to none – Thread.co.nz Feature, 2011

What would you save? – NZ Herald Canvas Feature, 2011

Interview for First Thursdays – Radio NZ Interview, 2010

Cleo Barnett’s favourite things - NZ Herald Viva Feature, 2010

The First Thursdays, Then What? – Morph Magazine Article, 2010

Arcade Art Fair a First For Business Graduate – Stuff.co.nz Feature, 2009

Radio New Zealand Interview – 2009

Thursday Girl – Remix Magazine, 2009

Featured image captured by Sacha Stejko.