Roberta Thornley


Roberta Thornley was born in Auckland in 1985. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2007. In 2011 she was the inaugural recipient of the Auckland Festival of Photography Annual Commission and in 2014 she was awarded a residency at Tylee Cottage with the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.  In 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Arts Foundation Marti Friedlander Photographic Award.

Sarjeant Gallery curator, Greg Donson comments: “Since including Roberta’s 2010 portrait of her mother “Crying My Mother’s Tears (Meme)” in a group exhibition entitled “Everyday Irregular”, I’ve been astonished at her ability to engage with her subjects and photograph them at a point when their - and subsequently our - emotional barometers venture into that elusive terrain of what it means to be human. Roberta is a photographer who hasn’t just grown into capturing essence, it feels like she had it from the moment she chose the camera as her medium.”

Thornley has exhibited in Australia and throughout New Zealand in both public and private galleries. Her work is held in collections including Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu, The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui and The Wallace Arts Trust. 

Roberta Thornley will exhibit a selection of work as a solo exhibition with Melanie Roger Gallery in late September 2023.

Selected Media.

  1. Roberta Thornley Reviewed
    Nina Seja, Photoforum
  2. Roberta Thornley - My Head on Your Heart
    John Daly-Peoples, New Zealand arts Review
  3. Roberta Thornley - A Serious Girl
    Greg Donson, Sergeant Gallery
  4. Young Adult Fictions
    Rebekah White, New Zealand Geographic
  5. In Between Years: A review of A Serious Girl
    Jessica Douglas, Pantograph Punch
  6. Roberta Thornley discussion
    Petra Kucha night, Photo Forum
  7. Roberta Thornley - A Photographic Portfolio
    Kriselle Baker, Art New Zealand
  8. Robertas Thornley: Cinematic
    Serena Bentley, Momento
  9. Roberta Thornley|: Idle
    John Hurrell, Eye Contact exhibition review


  1. Guest Artist: ROBERTA THORNLEY