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National Contemporary Art Award winner brings the personal into politics

2 September 2016

Good Kisser Sorawit Songsatayer cropped

Image: Good Kisser, Sorawit Songsataya. Winner 2016 National Contemporary Art Award.

 A multi-layered artwork referencing the traditional and using digital technology by Auckland artist Sorawit Songsataya has won the National Contemporary Art Award hosted by Waikato Museum. 

Judge Misal Adnan Yildiz selected the winning work Good Kisser from 34 finalists’ works. Yildiz also presented three merit awards to Cachemaille and Bowmast's entry Push Me Pull You, Ella Sutherland and Matthew Galloway's Fountain is a Copy? and Elliot Collins for  Pārekereke – Seedbed.

Misal Adnan Yildiz says the fragility of politics is nicely reflected in the winning artwork.

“Sorawit’s practice has not only a multi-layered methodology of research and production including digital technology and high speed circulation of images, but also a unique quality of transforming the old discussion, which brings the personal into politics,” says Yildiz.

“His 3D printed vases remind me of historical tools; like Kibele of Anatolia, they refer to the pre-modern. The 3D printed objects on a found table are a clear link to the tradition of ‘ready-made’. His work is also strongly contemporary in the sense it brings queer politics into the gallery remembering the recent Orlando massacre and the long history of the struggle for LGBTQ rights all over the world.

 “In the age of post-media-war, global terrorism, and everyday crisis, he is generously animating a confrontational and psychoanalytical question: Are you a good kisser?” 

 Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the National Contemporary Art Award proves the creative genius of artists is ceaseless.

“This exhibition of 34 finalists’ works proves art has the ability to say things we may not be able to put into words, and in its 17th year, this art award is stronger than ever. We are excited to share an outstanding exhibition this year.”

The exhibition is open until Sunday 4 December 2016 at Waikato Museum.

 The winner of the 2016 National Contemporary Art Award received $20,000 from the major sponsors, Chow Hill and Tompkins Wake. Three merit awards were each awarded $1000 from the Friends of Waikato Museum, Random Art Group and David’s Emporium. Visitors to Waikato Museum can vote for their favourite artwork in the ArtZone People’s Choice Award to be announced after the exhibition closes on 4 December 2016.


Louise Belay
Waikato Museum Partnerships and Communications Manager
07 838 6956
021 536 557