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Winning Art Influenced By A State House Journey

November 2007

Winner of the Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award for 2007

Winning Art Influenced By A State House Journey
And The Complexity Of Being “Hybrids

Poignant but full of hope, the work of Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes represents an investigation into the complexities and anxieties of so many who are what he describes as “hybrids” (Terry is Tongan/Norwegian) from within the low socio-economic neighbourhoods of South Auckland.

The hope within the work is personified by Terry’s own children. Terry’s family members are featured in the photographs of the mixed media piece, with one of the award judges describing the youngest child as a “young mona lisa”.

Terry Klavenes is the recipient of the 2007 Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award which was announced in Auckland last night at a ceremony which also celebrated the 10th year of the Award.

An exhibition of all finalists will be showing for 3 weeks ( until December 6) at the Martin Hughes Gallery in the Axis Building 91 Lower St Georges Bay Road Parnell.

The awarded work is a comment on the artist’s journey, about growing up in state houses. He explains very vividly: “My mum used to hang pictures over the holes in the walls and decorate them with leis, sometimes the pictures were of the people we knew, family, sometimes they were of strangers.”

The work, which is produced by the artist out of a concrete garaged in Manurewa, is composed of custom hand-printed wallpaper incorporating all the symbols of South Auckland – the dollar sign, the cross, the sandshoes over the power lines, the prison tattoo of the swallow which symbolises freedom.

Each work incorporates a photograph of those who are part of the artist’s life, framed in a custom fluorescent acrylic frame. Each frame includes symbols of importance to each person, similar to an individual coat of arms. Shoes and hibiscus for a daughter, rapper paraphernalia for a son, birds and flowers for the youngest.

The works on show are part of a bigger group of work.

The judges were unanimous in their decision. They found the work a fascinating juxtaposition of tradition meeting the contemporary – with immediate visual impact and delivering on a number of emotional levels.

Commenting on the Awards and the winner John Hughes of Martin Hughes said that Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes work embodied the philosophy of the Award “to interpret the Pacific influence with a modern and fresh point of view.”

Martin Hughes Architecture Interiors is a major New Zealand design company. For the past 35 years Martin Hughes has been promoting original New Zealand and Pacific art and incorporating it into their work. They have led the way, through their design, in celebrating Pacific influences through textures, art and colour.

One of the key influencers in interior design in New Zealand, Martin Hughes takes the passion for art into their work are pioneers in introducing contemporary New Zealand art into commercial and domestic spaces as part of the design.

Established ten years ago, the Award’s previous winners have been the artists Andy Leleisi’uao, Nikki Hastings McFall, Sheyne Tuffery, photographer Ross T Smith, carver Tui Hobson painter Zarahn Southon, and artist Lorene Taurerewa.

The categories are printmaking, painting, sculpture, weaving, tapa/textiles, jewellery, photography, carving, and multi media installation.

Commenting on the Award and its importance to him, one of the original winners Andy Leleisi’ua said “when I was awarded The Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award my work then was heavily ‘social and political’. I was surprised to receive this Award but it illustrated that we have people in different parts of our society who believe Pacific Island art and artists are able to make a difference.”

The Award is a travel grant of $5000, supporting artists to develop, investigate and research a project. Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes intends to return to Tonga.

Finalists for the Award were: Dylan Lind, multi-media ; Richard Boyd-Dunlop, painting; Aroha Lewin, painting; Vinesh Kumaran, photography; Kay George , mixed media; John Ioane , sculpture; Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka , painting; Genevieve Pini, mixed media; Isabella Rasch , multi-media .

An Encouragement Award was also given to Christchurch painter Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. This was given by advertising agency TBWA/Whybin in conjunction with the Martin Hughes Award.

Judges for the Award are Fatu Fau’u, Deborah White, David Walden, John Hughes, and Paul Macintosh.


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