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Manukau Student Wins Biggest Student Art Prize

Manukau Student Wins Country’s Biggest Student Art Prize

Twenty-two year old Fine Art student, Melissa Hatton, of Manukau School of Visual Art has been awarded first prize at the fourth national Mazda Emerging Artist Award, winning $10,000 cash.

The Tuakau resident was chosen as the Mazda Emerging Artist of the year over 106 other Fine Art students from throughout New Zealand. The winning piece, entitled - Do You See What I See - was described by judge John Daly-Peoples as a “homage to the past and the recognition that we are defined by history”.

Melissa’s painting is based on a painting by the mid-nineteenth century French classicist artist Ingres. She has copied a finely attired woman standing in front of mirror, as originally painted in La Comtesee de Haussonville. In this life-size painting Melissa has added a new face to the woman – that of her sister. The only other addition is a ballpoint pen lying on the cabinet the woman is resting against.

“I like the relationships that portraiture creates between the artist and the portrait and the viewers and the portrait. This is also a family portrait because it is of my 16-year-old sister,” said Melissa.

Melissa, who spent four months creating the painting, plans to put the $10,000 win towards paying for art gallery spaces once she completes her studies this year.

“Her reworking of the original is similar to Andy Warhol appropriating soup cans in the co modification of art. Melissa draws attention to the way in which art masterpieces of the past are little more than the subject matter of postcards,” said Mr Daly-Peoples.

Second place and a cheque for $5,000 went to Greenlane’s Peata Larkin of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for Cultural Genetics (Pushing Pixels#5), and Sonya Lacey from Auckland central was judged third with Seven Days. The Elam School of Fine Arts received a cheque for $2,500.
Peter Aitken, managing director of Mazda New Zealand Ltd, stresses the importance of encouraging New Zealand’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 our up and coming artists,” said Mr Aitken.

“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.”

All three winners were presented their cheques at the Awards Ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland amidst the 107 pieces of emerging art work. The emerging art exhibition will run for a week as part of the wider Mazda Artworks Charity Art Exhibition and Sale being held at the Hilton until 2nd September.

The three winning pieces will be auctioned off for charity at a black tie dinner on Thursday evening, while the remainder of emerging art work will be on display and available for the public to purchase at Mazda Artworks at the Hilton until this Saturday.


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