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Inaugural awards honour early career NZ artists

Media release embargoed until …
6pm, 22 November 2006

Inaugural awards honour early career New Zealand artists with $125,000 prize.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand and Presenting Sponsor Freemasons announced the recipients of the inaugural 2006 New Generation Awards at a function in Wellington tonight (November 22).

The New Generation Awards provide donations of $25,000 each to five artists who have demonstrated excellence in the early stages of their careers. Five Awards of $25,000, donated by the Freemasons, will be presented by the Arts Foundation every two years to artists from any art form for them to invest in developing their careers, including creation of new work or development opportunities such as further education.

“Having established the Laureate Awards for mid career artists and the Icon Awards to honour senior artists, the Arts Foundation recognised the need to support and honour artists at the early stage of their careers, “said Ros Burdon, Arts Foundation Chairman.

“The Foundation believes it’s important to award and celebrate the young artists who have demonstrated richness, range, strength and depth for their stage of career and a huge potential to carry on as high achieving artists. These artists not only contribute significantly to New Zealand now, but are also the arts champions of tomorrow.”

The five 2006 New Generation Award recipients are: Eve Armstrong, Visual Artist; Warren Maxwell, Composer/Arranger/Guitarist/Vocalist/Singer/Collaborator; Tze Ming Mok, Poet/Fiction Writer/Journalist; Joe Sheehan, Stone Artist and Jeweller; and Taika Waititi, Actor/Writer/Film Director.

2006 New Generation Artists

Aucklander, Eve Armstrong is one of New Zealand’s establishing artists whose art practice involves the use of “found” materials, with a particular passion for packing tape. Her work appears in the SCAPE 2006 Biennial of Art in Public Space exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery and she will participate in Turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial 2007.

Warren Maxwell is a well-known musician in the Wellington music scene. Former founder of the very popular (now disbanded) Trinity Roots, Warren is now a member of the high profile group Fat Freddy’s Drop and was a finalist at the APRA Silver Scroll Song Writers Award in 2004. He has also a member of recently formed psychedelic blues quartet, Little Bushman, who released their first album on November 27 this year.

A familiar name in the literary world, Aucklander Tze Ming Mok has had her poetry, fiction, reviews, features and opinions published in Landfall, JAAM, Sport, The Listener and the Sunday Star Times. Her short story Daily Special also appears in The Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 2 and her poem An Arabic Poetry lesson in Jakarta was selected as one of the Best New Zealand poems in 2004. Tze Ming’s Blog/Public Address Yellow Peril is hugely popular and she is currently working on a novel.

Wellingtonian Joe Sheehan is one of New Zealand’s finest stone carvers who takes a contemporary look at the relevance and position of greenstone in today’s world. He had his first solo show Stonedog at Avid Gallery in Wellington in 2004 and earlier this year exhibited Clean Green at FHE Gallery in Auckland.

Taika Waititi, actor, writer and film director has been involved in the film industry and theatrical productions in Wellington for a number of years. Taika’s short film in Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 and his film Tama Tu was officially selected for the Berlin Sundance and Aspen Film Festivals in 2005. His first full feature film Eagle vs. Shark has received major support from the NZ Film Commission and has recently sold the North American rights to Miramax. The film is due for release in April/May of next year.

David Mace, Grand Master of Freemasons New Zealand is pleased to be getting behind the next generation of artistic talent.

“The New Generation Awards will not only give artists a financial boost, but also the confidence to reach new heights in their careers. Freemasons New Zealand encourages New Zealanders to aim high and achieve well for the benefit of the whole nation.”

Neil Paviour-Smith, Managing Director of the Arts Foundation’s Principal Sponsor Forsyth Barr
said: “We applaud the Foundation’s commitment to New Zealand arts and artists through the establishment of this new Award.

The New Generation Awards sees the Arts Foundation increase its distribution this year across all programmes from $270,000 to $395,000. We are delighted to have the Freemasons, renowned for their philanthropic support, join the Arts Foundation’s list of supporters.

The New Generation Award recipients were chosen by curator, Jon Bywater, teacher, critic, theorist, and organiser of contemporary creative practices, specialising in visual art and music. In addition to the $25,000 donation, each artist was presented with a sculpture designed by well-known glass artist, Christine Cathie.

--

Notes to editors:

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand
The Arts Foundation of New Zealand is a charitable trust, independent from government that invests in excellence in New Zealand Arts. The Foundation has an endowment fund, which generates income to support the arts. It encourages private individuals to support the endowment through donations and bequests. The endowment fund was originally set up through donations from the Lottery Grants Board and a three-year loan of $1 million from an anonymous patron.

www.artsfoundation.org.nz

Freemasons New Zealand
Freemasonry is a very old fraternal organization whose fundamental aims are to promote the higher ideals of life. They are concerned with human values, moral standards, the rights of the individual and a concern for all in need.

While being historically linked with science through the Royal Society, all Freemasons are urged to expand their interest in the arts. Famous Freemason artists include Mozart and Sibelius, Chagall and Hogarth, Voltaire, Kipling and Pope.

Freemasonry in New Zealand comprises almost 300 Lodges throughout the country. Its 11,000 members meet regularly to share in a special fellowship, which includes their families, and to help people through charity work and other community service.

www.freemasons.co.nz

Forsyth Barr
Forsyth Barr is one of New Zealand’s leading sharebroking, investment management and investment banking firms. It is a locally owned business with well-established global connections.

Forsyth Barr offers services in sharebroking and company research, investment trusts, leveraged equities, call deposits, fixed interest, retirement planning and private portfolio management.

With more than 70 years experience and 11 offices nationwide, Forsyth Barr has the expertise and knowledge to assist people with their investment needs.

Forsyth Barr is proud to support the Arts Foundation of New Zealand and help ensure New Zealand’s arts and artists are celebrated and supported to guarantee future generations enjoy the rich heritage being created.

www.forbar.co.nz


Profiles of the New Generation Award Recipients

EVE ARMSTRONG
Eve Armstrong (1978) is an artist whose art practice involves the use of found materials and structures.

Not seeing the logic of introducing new materials to her works, Eve prefers to bring objects and ideas back into circulation. Her works are often formed through the research, collection and reconstruction of waste. In Arrangements, Eve collects objects and takes images of material refuse, organising them into sculptural stacks, piles, collages and assemblages within layered packaging tape landscapes. Another project The Trading Table, involves Eve setting up a table at various locations and facilitating the exchange of objects, skills, ideas and information with passers by. These projects are typical of Eve’s art practice and her interest in investigating systems of exchange, waste and recycling to reveal differing attitudes towards material use and value.

Working as Assistant Editor on the teen and children's pages for the Evening Post, Wellington, then studying textiles in Nelson, Eve went on to graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University in 2004, majoring in Sculpture. Her first major solo exhibition took place at Artspace, Auckland, in November 2005. More recently, her work appears in don’t misbehave, the SCAPE 2006 Biennial of Art in Public Space, Christchurch and Everywhere, the Busan Biennale 2006, Korea. She will participate in Turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial 2007 early next year. Eve currently lives in Auckland where, as well as working on her own projects, she works as the Gallery Co-ordinator at Artstation and tutors at Elam School of Fine Arts.

WARREN MAXWELL
Warren Maxwell (1970) - Ngāi Tūhoe –is the driving force behind many projects, former frontman of TrinityRoots, saxophonist for Fat Freddy’s Drop and leader of psychedelic blues quartet Little Bushman.

Growing up in Whangarei, Warren went on to study jazz at the Conservatorium of Music, where he has also taught. While still studying at the Conservatorium he became a founding member of TrinityRoots. They released their Creative New Zealand-funded debut EP in October of 2000 which sold over 3000 copies. Their debut album True was released in 2002, and Home, Land and Sea in 2004. Both albums have since gone Platinum (15,000 units each) The Band separated in 2005 to pursue other projects.

Since graduating from Massey University (B.Mus) Warren has also been involved with Theatre Sound Design (Taki Rua, Capital E), scoring for short films (Turangawaewae, Run) and various other musical projects. Warren was winner of Best Musician at the bNet Music Awards and nominated for the Silver Scroll Award in 2004 for the Trinity Roots song Home Land and Sea

Currently the saxophonist for Fat Freddy’s Drop, which has gained a large global following with its Pacific based reggae and soul sound, Warren is also leader of blues quartet Little Bushman whose music was recently described in the Sunday Star Times as “raw, rocky and psychedelic”. Little Bushman comprises Rick Cranson (Drums), Tom Callwood (Bass) and Joe Callwood (Guitar). Their first album The Onus of Sand, is due for release in November via Rhythmethod Distribution.

TZE MING MOK
Tze Ming Mok (1978) has, according to her online bookmark library “del.icio.us”, the following top six interests in order of link entry frequency: politics, literature, evil, language, tools, and humanity.

Her poetry, fiction, reviews, features and opinions have been published in Landfall, JAAM, Sport, Trout, Meanjin, The Listener, The Sunday Star Times, and the Public Address weblog Yellow Peril. She says of her writing, "there are too many different bits of it now for me to describe it coherently, and nothing I said about it before applies anymore. If the same thing is happening to the country, I might have a chance of blending in".

Tze Ming guest-edited the May 2006 issue, Landfall, borderline, which "roll[ed] in the cultural muddle of contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand." Her short story Daily Special appears in The Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 2, edited by Fiona Kidman (Random House NZ, 2005). Her poem An Arabic Poetry Lesson in Jakarta was selected as one of the Best New Zealand Poems in 2004. In that same year her essay Race You There won the Landfall Essay Competition, which she shared with Martin Edmond. In 2007 she is taking up the Creative New Zealand Red Gate residency in Beijing.

Under the classification standards of the People's Republic of China, Tze Ming has “the reading level of a half-literate peasant”. She holds an MA in Political Studies from the University of Auckland. She is first-generation New Zealand-born Chinese, and her family is from a bewildering array of East and Southeast Asian countries. >

JOE SHEEHAN
Joe Sheehan (1976) follows in his father’s footsteps as a jade-worker, taking a contemporary look at the relevance and position of greenstone carving in today's world.

Joe concentrated mostly on jewellery and metal skills while at University, studying contemporary jewellery at Unitec in the mid-90s. He has since worked in carving studios nationally and has visited nephrite-jade deposits around the world.

His recent work has looked at the commercialisation of the jade industry and the limitations it places on jade and its potential as a medium for relevant art practise, asking why much modern greenstone carving looks like museum-held works, rather than objects of this time. Seeking fresh responses and processes, Joe plays with social and cultural contexts with his work, presenting pounamu and jade objects that speak first about their object status and second about their materials. There is a conceptual background evident in his work, where he utilises international materials and forms to address the way jade’s cultural associations are marketed.
Joe had his first solo show Stonedog at Avid Gallery, Wellington in 2004, in September 2005 exhibited Limelight at Objectspace, Auckland and most recently in October 2006 exhibited Clean Green at FHE gallery in Auckland. His work in these exhibitions has included carved Bic pens, a working lightbulb, a cassette tape that plays a recording of a river, sunglasses, AA batteries, and a necklace made from several hundred precision-cut discs of Russian Nephrite.

TAIKA WAITITI
Taika Waititi (1975) - Te-Whanau-a-Apanui, also going under the surname Cohen, comes from the Raukokore region of the East Coast. He has been involved in the arts for several years, as a visual artist, actor, writer and director.

As a performer and comedian, Taika has been involved in some of New Zealand’s most innovative and successful productions. With a strong background in comedy writing and performing (with fellow comedian Jemaine Clement), Taika has won New Zealand’s top comedy awards, the Billy T Award and the Spirit of the Fringe Award in Edinburgh. He regularly does standup gigs around the country and in 2004 launched his solo production, Taika’s Incredible Show which “wasn’t that incredible but had a cool poster which he drew himself”. Taika has been critically acclaimed for his dramatic abilities being nominated for Best Actor at the 2000 Nokia Film Awards for his role in the Sarkies Brothers’ film Scarfies.

Taika’s short film, Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 and his following short, Tama Tu, about a group of Maori soldiers in Italy during World War II, won a string of international awards, also becoming eligible for Oscar nomination. Taika has recently completed production on his first feature, Eagle vs. Shark, due for release in early 2007.

Taika spent two years in Berlin working and exhibiting in the Schliemann 40.House. He has spent the last few years experimenting with photography and painting. He recently illustrated Jo Randerson’s book of short stories The Keys to Hell, and was a guest speaker at this year’s Semi-Permanent Design event. He has also collaborated with the architectural firm Wraight & Associates on a proposal for Wellington City Council’s Wellington Gateway project.


ENDS

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