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Finalists for 2017 National Contemporary Art Award announced

19 May 2017

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The finalists of the 2017 National Contemporary Art Award have been decided with 50 artworks by 48 artists from across New Zealand selected.  

This year’s judge, Elizabeth Caldwell, Director of City Gallery Wellington, assessed the 236 entries for this year’s National Contemporary Art Award.

Finalists were selected through a blind judging process where Caldwell reviewed artists’ statements, images and optional video works online without seeing the identity of the artist.

“Faced with a tremendous number of submissions and a great variety of media with the entries – jewellery, ceramics, painting, photography, moving image – the preliminary judging has certainly been a challenge,” she says.

“While I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibition, I don’t think the task of selecting award recipients will be easy as there is some terrific work!”

This is the 18th year of the National Contemporary Art Award, managed by Waikato Museum.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the calibre of this year’s entries was exceptional.

“Narrowing the large number of entries down to a selection of finalists seems to get more difficult every year,” she says. “I wish to thank all of this year’s entrants for their contribution to raising the standard of contemporary art in New Zealand, and congratulations to all of the finalists.”

The finalists for the 2017 National Contemporary Art Award are:

View – Sarah Smith, Auckland

Levitation Lesson – Wanda Gillespie, Auckland

The Artists Encumbrance – Robyn Gibson, Auckland

Transmuting the Improbable – Sue Reidy, Auckland

Objectmemory – Hannah Valentine, Auckland

Settled In the Soil – Vonney Ball, Auckland

See, Look, Sea – Judith Lawson, Auckland

Promontory – Emma Smith, Auckland

Red House – Frances Rood, Auckland

Great North Road - Tiger Murdoch - Auckland

“Only Love can Hurt Like This” – Luise Fong, Auckland

Back to Work: stooks – Margaret Feeney, Auckland

Written in the Bone- West Coast Woman – Naomi Roche, Hamilton

In place of totems – Julien Dyne, Auckland

Lost in translation – Sean Beldon, Auckland

Te Whare Tapa Wha – Anthony Cribb, Auckland

South Pacific Timber –Ishmael Lotawa, Auckland

'One in Four' – Rhiannon James, Christchurch

Braso Verdi – Thomas Hancock, Christchurch

Flux – Clara Wells, Christchurch

Parallel Lines: A state of being in disguise of a cloud – Ina Johann, Christchurch

Constellations - drawing strength – Edwards & Johann, Christchurch

High Country Weather – Donna-Marie Patterson, Christchurch

Lake Lyndon - Waterlog - 140mls – Stefan Roberts, Christchurch

Slow Inward Fall – Justin Spiers, Dunedin

The Economy of Law – Justin Spiers, Dunedin

In the Kitchen of L$D Fundraiser – Justin Spiers, Dunedin

Fame In Oats: A Manifesto - Manuscript Preparation – Mia Stefano, Dunedin

Trying to be more Maori: Attempt #1 – Aroha Novak, Dunedin

'the meaning of ethics' – Kim Pieters, Dunedin

Insidious pervasion – Tony Nicholls, Hamilton

Gas Station #3, 23/3/17 – Mark Purdom, Hamilton

What Are The Chances? – James Sutherland and Jeremy Mayall, Hamilton

Still Life – Susan Mabin, Hastings

Presentation Porker – Gemma Baldock, Invercargill

Frame and Line – Mel Ford, Levin

Reading Between The Lines – Mel Ford, Levin

Nested Bowls MELISSA – Anett Pilz, Mount Maunganui

Pietà II  – Richard McCoy, Nelson

The line of descent – Andrew Davie, New Plymouth

The Hidden – Scott Boardman, Otumoetai

Chrysalid – Sebastien Jaunas, Paekakariki

Signs of life. Vanity Suite 2017 – Kristin Peren, Queenstown

Korro Korro by Thomas Tooi 1818 – Jo Torr, Tauranga

Leftovers reconfigured – Stuart Forsyth, Wellington

Miss – Vicki Payne, Wellington

Balustrade – Daniel Rose, Wellington

Still, I Found All the Pieces – Claudia Latisnere, Wellington

Hypo-Tension – Alexis Neal, Wellsford

Raw – Debbie Hahn, Whanganui


The winner and merit award winners of the National Contemporary Art Award will be announced at the opening ceremony on Friday 28 July at Waikato Museum. The exhibition will open from Saturday 29 July until Sunday 5 November 2017.

All of the 2016 sponsors are returning this year, with the winner to receive $20,000 from the major sponsors, Chow Hill and Tompkins Wake. Three merit awards of $1000 each will be awarded from the Friends of Waikato Museum, Random Art Group and David’s Emporium.

For more information contact:

Dan Silverton

Partnerships and Communications Manager

07 838 6956

021 056 9810