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Auckland Artist Nails Adam Portraiture Award 2004


26 FEBRUARY 2004


Auckland artist Ryuzo Nishida was awarded first prize out of 200 entries submitted in the Adam Portraiture Award 2004, a biennial portrait competition hosted by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. Nishida will receive a $10,000 prize package, which includes a commission to paint a portrait of the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt.

Nishida's winning Self-portrait is created with 12,000 acrylic-covered nails making it one of the most original entries to the competition. The competition judge Marc Pachter, Director of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. said that Nishida's portrait was an obvious winner.

"I wanted to choose something typical of 21st century New Zealand. In the competition, I was looking for vivid, modern ways of conveying likeness. The nails deliver something different, but the winning portrait is not a gimmick," Marc Pachter said.

Nishida's portrait is the first human portrait he has done. Before, the gorilla was the most frequent subject of his art works, partly he said, because "gorilla" was his nickname through primary school.

"However, after working with gorilla images as subject matter for painting, I have an ambivalent attitude toward this motif. This attitude is echoed in the way I feel about my situation at present as a Japanese person living in Auckland. Self-portrait also refers to a Japanese cultural attitude; "the nail that sticks up is hammered down," Nishida said.

Marc Pachter also awarded a Highly Commended prize to Claudia McKay (Wellington) and commended prizes to Sandro Kopp (Wellington), Janet Muir (Auckland), Sandra Wilson (Lower Hutt), John Badcock (Geraldine), Marianne Muggeridge (Wellington) and Eleanor Wright (Auckland).

Of the 200 entries received from throughout the country 138 were pre-selected by the judge. These now form the Adam Portraiture Exhibition 2004 which will show at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington from 26 February - 16 April 2004.

The Adam Portraiture Award 2004 is sponsored by the Adam Foundation and is open to all New Zealand residents and citizens.


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