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Inaugural Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence

Inaugural Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award announced tonight at the 2003 Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards

Nelson designer Letty MacPhedran has won the inaugural Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award with her winning entry, Yoi Yasa, announced this evening at the 2003 Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards in Nelson.

Established to acknowledge artistic excellence and provide an opportunity for senior designers, the Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award attracted 19 entries. Previous winners of the Supreme WOW Award and previous judges were invited to enter the award. The theme for 2003 was “Re-interpreting the kimono”.

As the inaugural winner of the Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award, Letty MacPhedran received a prize of $7500 and a trophy. Auckland designer Susan Holmes was highly commended for her entry, Blue Lagoon, and received a prize of $2000.

Letty was a Supreme WOW Award winner in 1993 for The Paua and the Glory, designed by Letty with Lillian Mutsaers of Wellington, and was a judge in 1998. Susan won the Supreme WOW Award with her creation, Dragon Fish, in 1996 and was a judge in 1991 and 1997.

Experience in the film industry as well as designing masks for the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet helped shape Letty’s work. Recently, she has also concentrated on painting with acrylics.

“I believe everyone is creative in their own way,” she says. “It’s just unblocking the barriers and allowing the creativity to express itself.” Susan Holmes has made thousands of dyed and hand-printed garments since the early 1970s. Over the past 10 years, largely inspired by the World of WearableArt™, her pieces have become more sculptural and expressive. She has exhibited widely in New Zealand and overseas and has won many awards, including fashion and Wool Board awards. “I found both the Award and this year’s theme, Re-interpreting the kimono, an irresistible opportunity for senior artists to acquit themselves among their peers,” Susan says. “It’s an interesting idea to take the traditional form of the kimono and ask us to use all our inventiveness and experience to create a satisfying artwork.”

Letty’s “kimono”, Yoi Yasa, is a fragile and partially transparent creation of layers of red and white collaged silk with large but separate sleeves sweeping the floor. A bird cage made of red cane sits atop a satin obi and the delicate bird analogy is repeated in the headgear with a bird nest of fine white noodles pierced by silk.
Susan’s “kimono”, Blue Lagoon, is made out of varying shades of turquoise blue fabric, echoing the colours of the Pacific Ocean. It has a trailing silhouette of increasing hooped sections across the body and sleeves, and a salmon pink and black obi (sash/bustle). The entire garment culminates in the froth of an ocean wave across the floor.

The judges for this year’s Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award were Nelson artist Austin Davies, Claire Regnault from the Dowse in Lower Hutt, and Suzie Moncrieff, Director of the World of WearableArt™ Ltd.

Elizabeth Kerr, Chief Executive of Creative New Zealand, says the idea for the new award evolved from research undertaken by the World of WearableArt™ Ltd, which indicated a need for an award focussing on excellence at the senior WearableArt level.

“This concept appealed to Creative New Zealand because it acknowledges artistic excellence and provides opportunities for senior artists,” she says. “We are very excited about our new partnership with the World of WearableArt™ and it is great to see the stunning results this Award has achieved in its first year.”

Miss Kerr says that Suzie Moncrieff has created a uniquely New Zealand event, along with the World of WearableArt and Collectible Car Complex. They are both major cultural tourism attractions providing significant economic benefits for the Nelson region and for New Zealand.

Suzie Moncrieff says that the Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award provides senior practising artists with another goal to strive for.

“It represents a significant step forward in the journey of the Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards and we’re delighted that Creative New Zealand has come on board to sponsor this new award that is part of the Historic Section of the Awards,” she says.

The Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards takes place this year on 12 - 14 and 19 – 21 September. Last year, the WOW complex attracted 56,000 visitors through its doors. And every year, more than 15,000 New Zealanders, international visitors and media flock to Nelson to attend the Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards.

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