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Familiar names among National Contemporary Art Award finalists

30 May 2018

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New and familiar names make up the 32 artists whose works have been selected as finalists in the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award.

This year’s judge, Reuben Friend, Director of Pātaka Art Gallery and Museum in Wellington, assessed the 331 entries for this year’s National Contemporary Art Award.

Finalists were selected through a blind judging process in which Mr Friend reviewed images, artists’ statements, and video without knowing the identity of the artist.

“This has been a very challenging task for me to complete, as there was no committee or selection body for me to confide in so all selections were purely based on my own personal taste in art, he says.”

“This year’s selection reflects my personal interest in media and technical artistic ability, balanced with my interest in the current, future and historical ecological and political environment of our unique part of the world here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Our environment and culture is what makes us different from the rest of the world, and this also provides the raw ingredients for great art making.”

The award is managed by Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, which will host an exhibition of the finalists from 4 August – 28 October 2018.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the judging period can be a nervous one for her team.

“The final aesthetic of the exhibition is in the hands of the artists and judge,” she says. “We place our trust in New Zealand artists to submit works based on ideas that are inspiring, provoking and exciting them at the time. And we trust the judge to curate an exhibition that will challenge, entertain and move our visitors.”

Five artists chosen as finalists also featured in the 2017 exhibition: Jo Torr (Tauranga), Sebastien Jaunas (Paekakariki), Mark Purdom (Hamilton), Justin Spiers (Dunedin) and Christchurch duo Edwards + Johann.

Marie E. Potter, D Milton Browne, Martin Awa Clarke Langdon, Louise Lever, Shannon Novak, and Kyle Sattler are also repeat finalists from recent years.


The finalists for the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award are:

Horizons - Amanda Densham, Auckland

LAND SWALLOWERS 2 - Brett Graham, Waiuku

talk to me - D Milton Browne, Dunedin

Aloft the Little Lower Layer - Dennis Blair, Auckland

Divided Bear Bodies - Don Chooi, Auckland

On the Seam of Things - Constellations #2 - EDWARDS+JOHANN, Christchurch

Blue Spring - James Wylie, Auckland

Rua waka wairua - Jo Torr, Tauranga

Machine Drawing: Two Columns - Julian McKinnon, Auckland

Enclosure - Justin Spiers, Dunedin

Consumer Culture - Kereama Taepa, Papamoa

Accidental Opus; Configuration 3 - Kyle Sattler, Tauranga

the Lie of the Land #2 - Lee Harrop, Australia

Lesbians are not women - Louise Lever, Auckland

Atomic Vanitas - Japan Floating - Lynn Hurst, Whanganui

Misplaced Youth #14: High-lite - M J P Binks, Auckland

Land of Hope - Marie E. Potter, Auckland 

Still Here (green floral) - Marita Hewitt, Kerikeri

Space Raccoon Gang - everything is connected - Mark Curtis, Hamilton

Arctic Ghillie Suit, 29/10/17. - Mark Purdom, Hamilton

The potential of a promise - Martin Awa Clarke Langdon, Wellington  

All that glitters ain't gold - Monique Lacey, Auckland

Doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, tbh - Natchez Hudson, Wellington

Antechamber 2018 - Peter Roche, Auckland

'Les Trois Morts' - Rebecca Hazard, Auckland

down the drain - Rebekah Rasmussen, Wellington

Scar - Sam Dollimore, Porirua

You and Me. The Weight of History - Sarah Ziessen, Rotorua

The Limit - Sebastien Jaunas, Paekakariki

Dopamine Blues - Shannon Novak, Auckland

Tongpop: A family of souvenirs - Telly Tuita, Lyall Bay

Aho Mutungakore - Tessa Ma'auga, Palmerston North

The winner, runner-up and merit award recipients of the National Contemporary Art Award will be announced at the awards ceremony and exhibition opening on Friday 3 August 2018.

The winner will receive $20,000 from the major sponsors, Chow Hill and Tompkins Wake. The runner-up will receive $5,000 from new sponsor Hugo Charitable Trust, and two merit awards of $1000 each will be donated by the Friends of Waikato Museum and Random Art Group.


For more information, contact:

Dan Silverton

Partnerships and Communications Manager

07 838 6956

021 056 9810