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Silk artwork wins People’s Choice Award

9 February 2022

Rozana Lee with 2021 NCAA Peoples Choice Award artwork

A handcrafted silk artwork has captured hearts and won the prestigious Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award for the National Contemporary Art Award 2021 at Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers 2’ is a work by artist Rozana Lee, made from wax drawings using tjanting (a traditional pen-like tool for applying hot wax) on hand-dyed fuchsia pink silk, draped over a wooden standing frame. Mixing Oriental or Islamic scroll patterning, Chinese silk satin, and exotic timber, Lee’s work draws on ideas around cross-cultural mobility, identity, and displacement.

"Wow, this is such a wonderful news!" says Lee, who is of Indonesian-Chinese heritage and has been based in Auckland since 2010.

"I am so honoured that my work is the recipient of this award. Thank you to everyone who voted and thank you to the family of Campbell Smith."

The Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the family of Campbell Smith (1925-2015), an artist, poet, playwright and former Waikato Museum Director. It includes a cash prize of $250.

"Rozana Lee’s beautiful work is a worthy winner of this prestigious prize," says Waikato Museum Director, Liz Cotton.

"The standard of artistic merit across the wide range of media submitted to the National Contemporary Art Award was outstanding, and our visitors have enjoyed engaging with Rozana’s work alongside the other artworks and award winners in this exhibition."

In response to Covid-19 lockdowns and safety precautions, the National Contemporary Art Award sought new ways to reach the public. This included a ‘virtual tour’ of the artworks, and the introduction of online voting for the Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award, as well as paper ballots cast in the gallery.

Visitors also have more opportunities to enjoy the exhibition in person as the closing date has been extended to Sunday 20 February. Entry is free.

At the opening of the exhibition in September, Auckland-based artist Caryline Boreham was announced as the winner of the prestigious $20,000 National Contemporary Art Award for her mesmerising video work entitled Palmolive.

The guest judge for 2021, Karl Chitham (Ngaa Puhi, Te Uriroroi), adhered to a blind-judging process to choose the winning work from a pool of 38 finalists, all of which are on display at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato until 20 February.

The Award attracted entries from around New Zealand and overseas. Tompkins Wake, one of New Zealand’s leading law firms, and nationally-renowned architects Chow:Hill, have been its co-sponsors since 2014 and 2015 respectively.