Season 1

Benjamin Work

Auckland, New Zealand

The Artwork

TITLE: Untitled

LOCATION: Cross Street, CBD Auckland.

Ben talks a lot about family, community and culture. In this episode we get to see an artist drawing on their heritage to advance their understanding of who they are, what their culture means to them in a contemporary setting, and to progress discussion around the Tongan diaspora both within New Zealand and beyond.

There’s an interesting contrast between the work seen in Ben’s exhibition that features in this episode and his current street work. Small and delicate to large and strong. There’s even greater contrast between the perception of who Ben might have been as a faceless graffiti writer and the mild mannered nice guy who breezes through his interview. The prevailing sense that Ben leaves us with is one of aspiration and hope, and that is a really great thing.

The Artist

Benjamin Work is a South Auckland-based visual artist of Tongan heritage. With a strong foundation in aerosol painting and graffiti, Work is a core member of the Auckland art collective, TMD. He has worked on diverse projects including large scale public mural commissions, limited edition wine boxes and postage stamps, and recently, his practice has also expanded to photography and performance. Work travels to Tonga frequently and is an active member of the Auckland-based Tongan art collective, No’o Fakataha. He maintains a strong interest in ngatu (Tongan bark cloth) making, design and motifs.

Find Benjamin Work online



The subject of public art regularly inspires intense debate. We want to allow everyone to have a voice, please join the discussion below.


The beauty of art on the street is that it is there for everyone to enjoy. No need to step foot into a gallery, the street is the gallery.

Cross Street, CBD Auckland.



About – If These Walls Could Talk

For general enquiries and correspondence please contact [email protected]

Launching October 2014, If These Walls Could Talk is a collection of stories about people who like to paint walls.

A series of mini documentaries follow Askew One, Benjamin Work, BMD, Elliot Francis Stewart and Mica Still as they take us into the heart of their creative worlds.

It takes a close look at the practice of some of the artists from Aotearoa’s street art and graffiti community. It explores what compels them to paint outside, what drives them artistically, and how they navigate identity, community, ownership and the creative process.

ITWCT seeks to build understanding around the roles artists working within this field can play in contributing towards out built environments, how they can activate space and discussion, and how they successfully operate within the dynamic framework presented by the street.

New Zealand has a strong field of artists working within this field who are developing a vernacular that address’ our cultural identity as a Pacific Island nation, our inherent relationship to the land, a distinct point of view in a global context and an ability to examine issues around contemporary culture in an effective and arresting manner.



ITWCT is a document of NZ culture, exploring both art and the prodigious musical talent that has been developing over the last few years. The series features music from Ben Jammin, Jay Knight, Haan 808, Miso Shiru, Samuel Truth, The Basement Tapes and Tommy Flowers.

If These Walls Could Talk is made with the help of NZ On Air through their Ignite Digital Media Fund.

You can find out more about it here.


Our Crew

Produced by: Ross Liew
Directed by: Ross Liew, Dena Kennedy, Priscilla Northe and Blake Dunlop
Filmed by: Priscilla Northe and Blake Dunlop
Edited by: Dena Kennedy
Website by: Regan Vause

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