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Hastings Art Student Wins National Award

31st August 2004

Hastings Art Student Wins National Emerging Artist Award

1) Winners L-R: Helen Sham (3rd), Peter Aitken (Mazda MD), Karen
MacPherson (1st), John Daly-Peoples (judge), Hannah Shepherd (2nd).

Twenty two year old Fine Art student, Karen MacPherson of the Eastern Institute of Technology in Taradale has been awarded first prize in the national Mazda Emerging Artist Award, winning $10,000 cash.

Karen was chosen as the Mazda Emerging Artist of the year over 132 other Fine Art students from throughout New Zealand. Her winning painting, Voice, was described by judge John Daly-Peoples as having a sci-fi dreamlike quality with a shifting focus.

“The glossy image is like a primeval forest with trees, with hints of other life forms emerging that are imbued with an inner light - some sort of spiritual dimension,” said Daly-Peoples. “Karen has also included embossed letters across the surface of the work as though they too are emerging as a means of communication, a sort of alphabet soup. Around the edges it seems as though words are taking shape in this desperate desire to communicate.”

Karen said that she is interested in the idea of the enchanted forest – of traveling into the woods and in doing so facing its dangers and emerging from this journey transformed and enlightened by the experience.

In Auckland yesterday for the Award ceremony, Karen said that she is very glad she made the last minute decision to enter. “I have heard how last year’s award resulted in great exposure for the winner, so the thought of that is exciting,” said Karen. “And of course my $10,000 prize will mean I no longer have to scrimp on buying canvases and other art supplies.”

Second place and a cheque for $5,000 went to Hannah Shepherd of Christchurch Polytechnic School of Art and Design for her set of drawings entitled ‘Fleeting Moments’, while an untitled photograph by Helen Sham from the Auckland University of Technology gained her the third place Award and a cheque for $2,500.

All three winners were presented their cheques and certificates at the Awards Ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland yesterday amidst the 132 pieces of emerging art work.

Adding to the excitement were two of New Zealand’s leading graffiti artists, who transformed two Mazda3 vehicles on display amidst the Mazda emerging art exhibition.

The three winning pieces will be auctioned off for charity at a black tie dinner being held at Artworks on Saturday 4th of September while the remainder of emerging art work will be on display and available for the public to purchase as part of the wider Artworks Charity Art Exhibition and Sale at the Hilton until the 5th of September.

Peter Aitken, Mazda New Zealand’s managing director and founder of the Mazda Emerging Artist Award stressed the importance of encouraging the country’s emerging talent.

“Tertiary art students often face significant financial hurdles and the Mazda Emerging Artist Award is a means of offering reward and recognition for New Zealand’s up and coming artists,” said Mr Aitken. “However, it is not just about coming first, second or third, but about providing a medium for the students to gain exposure of their art to a wide public audience and in many cases secure the first sale of their own work.”

Commission from the sales of emerging art will be split between; Variety – the Children’s Charity, The Gifted Kid’s Programme, The Spirit of Adventure Trust, The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and the Liggins Institute. Last year’s Artworks event saw more than 1500 visitors view and purchase the established and emerging art that was on display, raising $218,000 for charity.

This year was the second year of the Mazda Emerging Artist Award and exhibition. The annual competition is open to 3rd and 4th year and studying post-graduate students from tertiary fine art institutions nationally.


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