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Rangi Kipa awarded Creative NZ Art Fellowship

Rangi Kipa awarded Creative NZ Art Fellowship

Multi-taleneted artist Rangi Kipa has been awarded this year’s $65,000 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship.

A practising artist for more than 20 years, Kipa is a graduate of the Maraeroa Carving School and holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Waikato University and a Masters of Maori Visual Arts from Massey University. He works as a senior lecturer at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane and is a licensed user of toi ihoTM, the trademark for quality and authenticity for Māori arts.

While he is proficient in various disciplines, he specialises in Moko, Sculpture (wood, stone, bone, corian) ethnographic taonga, and has works in major collections in New Zealand including Te Papa, Lower Hutt’s The Dowse and New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki. He is now also forging a reputation internationally with overseas collectors, with exhibitions in San Francisco, Utah, Vancouver, Denver and New York in the next 12 months.

“I like to continuously push my own boundaries and challenge the status quo, artistic expression, artistic practice should reflect the realities of life,” he said.

“This means that I use all manner of materials as mediums for my artistic expression from natural organic resources to composite space age compounds.”

Now, as the third recipient of the largest fellowship in New Zealand for craft/object artists, Kipa has his mind focused on more international exposure. Over the next 12 months, he will develop a carving work which has been accepted for the opening exhibition at the new Denver Museum of Contemporary Art in May next year.

His creation, a whare whakairo (carved meeting house) ‘the most potent of all artforms’, will include two ‘mahau’ or entrance ways and no back wall. One entrance will be more wood and more traditional wood while the other will demonstrate Kipa’s contemporary edge. It deviates from the normal practice of whare whakairo representing ancestors as it depicts himself and the place of Maori in contemporary society.

“Whether understandings are of past, or future, Maori is a vibrant or viable identity and I am not deterred by change or challenge,” he said.

The annual Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship was established in 2004 in response to recommendations in a strategy for the craft/object art sector, developed by Creative New Zealand in close consultation with the sector. Aimed at mid-career and senior practitioners, it is available to artists, writers and curators. The inaugural recipient in 2004 was Malcolm Harrison and the 2005 recipient was Peter Lange.

Kipa was selected by a committee made up of leading craft/object art practitioners and a member of the Arts Board. The committee was impressed by Kipa’s experience in blending traditional and contemporary practice.

Chair of the Arts Board Alastair Carruthers says the Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship provides an artist with a sustained period of time to take risks, experiment and create innovative new work. “Rangi Kipa is an artist whose body of work shows that he is unafraid to go in new directions with his art practice while constantly drawing inspiration from his Maori heritage.

“We are particularly excited that for the first time, a project supported under this fellowship is aimed at showcasing New Zealand art internationally,” he said.


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