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Aratoi People’s Choice Award & Emerging Artist Award

Aratoi People’s Choice Award & Emerging Artist Award at the Museum’s 10th Wairarapa Art Review

Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, in Masterton, held a closing ceremony for its 10th Wairarapa Art Review today. The selected exhibition, held every two years since 1999, is open to all artists living in the Wairarapa region. For the 2017 Review, 86 entries were received, and 57 works selected; the selector for the Review was art critic, writer and curator Mark Amery. The Wairarapa Art Review is organised by the Friends of Aratoi, a 450-strong membership organisation that supports the Museum.

Almost 1,000 votes were received for the People’s Choice Award – 967 to be exact – with each of the 57 exhibiting artists receiving at least one vote.

This represents almost 100% more votes than the previous Review. The People’s Choice Award of $500 was awarded to Masterton veterinarian-painter Elke Blommers for her portrait of a Black Labrador, a painting titled ‘Angus’. “I love to paint black animals, but I used no black paint – just blue, brown, pink, yellow and white.” The Masterton-based artist received about 10 per cent of the vote. The Award is sponsored by Friends of Aratoi member Frank Minehan, who also volunteers at the Museum. Minehan said as he presented the award to Elke Blommers, “Thank you, artists for your creativity… for sticking your neck out to show your work.”

The Emerging Artist Award was presented to Masterton-based photographer Anna Rutherford for ‘Harvey and Murphy’. Her prize, a one-week residency, is sponsored by New Zealand Pacific Studio, the international artists’ residency centre in Mount Bruce, Wairarapa.

THE SIX PRIZEWINNERS are as follows:

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, sponsored by Frank Minehan
Elke is a veterinarian and painter, with a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Ultrecht University, and with several years of experience painting many animals – with a particular fondness for the dog. As a vet, she does some large animal work but mainly attends to pets and their owners. Elke lives in Masterton where she serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Masterton Art Club.

Anna Rutherford is a Masterton-based family and lifestyle photographer who specializes in working with families with young children. She uses natural light and familiar surroundings for her images. Her photography documentary project ‘Masterton & Me’ – in which the artist takes to the streets to both meet her subjects and to exhibit – is currently on display near the Wairarapa Building Society (WBS) on Queen & Park Streets, Masterton. The project premiered at the Block Party 2017 in collaboration with Urban Dream Brokerage, and it will also show at Aratoi in 2018. Anna has a degree in photography from Unitec Institute of Technology.

ROSEWOOD PREMIER AWARD, sponsored by David & Lynette Dew, Rosewood Funeral Home

Trained in ceramics and fine arts in Whanganui under the tuition of Ross Mitchell-Anyon, Sam Ludden works in a number of media. He has traveled widely and has worked as a potter in China, Czech Republic, England, France, and Thailand. His recent work reflects his interest in his Wairarapa birthplace; its cultures and landscapes, its threatened flora and fauna, and its huge wider potential in the arts. He has created a wide range of eels and other ceramic sculptures, and works from his home studio, Dirty Fingers Pottery, in Masterton. He will have a solo show at Aratoi in 2018.

Sam Duckor-Jones tells stories through his art, whether it be puppetry, poetry, drawing, music, or clay. Duckor-Jones has exhibited across New Zealand and is represented by Bowen Galleries in Wellington, the city of his birth. In 2017, he received his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Victoria University, and was awarded the Scots College Artist Residency, supported by Chris Parkin. He works from his home studio in Featherston.

JANE HYDER PORTRAIT AWARD, sponsored by Jane Hyder
A painter and sculptor, Stephen Lawrie trained at the Elam School of Fine Arts in the 1970s and has been living between New Zealand (Flat Point) and Alaska since 1976. For more than 40 years, he worked as an artist and commercial fisherman. "Some years, the painting was better than the fishing and other years the fishing," says Lawrie. He is now a full-time artist, with painting exhibitions and sculpture commissions both in USA and New Zealand.

Audrey Hall is a ceramics artist who has been delighting the Wairarapa community with her hand-shaped sculptures over the past decade. Some of her work is inspired by books she has read, such as Alice in Wonderland, Les Miserables and Wind in the Willows. Hall uses the ceramics studio facilities at King Street Artworks. (Note: Audrey Hall is unable to accept the one-week residency prize.)

The six prize-winning works will be exhibited at Ventana Creative Collective in Martinborough, from 23 February to 11 March 2018. Everyone is invited to the opening event on Friday 23 February at 6:30pm. Ventana Director Auriga Martin commented that she is “looking forward to showcasing the winning pieces from the Review. It’s great to connect with our local art network and co-host an event with Aratoi.”

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