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Celebrating innovation and diversity

Celebrating innovation and diversity with Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards

From Sonny Bill’s tattoo artist, to an ‘Afakasi’ storyteller, to the first Tongan woman to graduate from the Elam School of Fine Arts, the line up for this year’s Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards celebrates excellence and innovation in Pacific arts.

Established in 1996, the annual awards acknowledge the richness and diversity of high-quality Pacific art in Aotearoa, with awards for emerging and established artists and for heritage and contemporary artforms.

“The Arts Pasifika Awards are an opportunity to honour the unique contribution that talented Pasifika people make to our country’s distinctive artistic and cultural identity,” says Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, a Pacific representative on the Arts Council of New Zealand.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday 5 November 2014.

Senior Artist Award – Steve Ma Ching ($10,000)

Internationally recognised tattoo artist Steve Ma Ching has made a significant contribution to reviving cultural Polynesian tattoos over the last 33 years. Steve has tattooed many sportsmen with such designs, including Sonny Bill Williams. Of Samoan and Chinese descent, Auckland-based Steve has won national and international awards for his work as well as been published internationally in premier tattoo publications. He has also mentored a number of tattoo artists, who have gone on to be award-winning artists in their own right.

Contemporary Artist Award – Dagmar Dyck ($5,000)

Auckland-based visual artist Dagmar Dyck is the first woman of Tongan descent to graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts. The motivation for Dagmar’s printmaking and painting practice is closely aligned with her Tongan and German ancestry. She has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and her work is held in many collections as well as featured in publications. An advocate for contemporary Pacific art and Tongan art, she is also a teacher and mentor, an original member of Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust and a founding member of the Tongan Visual Artist Collective No’o Fakataha.

Emerging Artist – Grace Taylor ($4,000)

South Auckland’s Grace Taylor is a poet and spoken word artist, writing, performing and teaching the artform for the last seven years. Of English and Samoan decent, Grace’s poetry is based around identity, social commentary, advocacy and discussion of women. Grace is co-founder of the South Auckland Poets Collective and Niu Navigations. She is also the co-founder, producer and creative director of the Creative New Zealand funded ‘Rising Voices Youth Poetry Movement’. Last year Grace was a main speaker at TEDx Auckland and published her first collection of poetry Afakasi Speaks. She is currently at Edinburgh’s International Scottish Storytelling Festival as a guest poet through the NZ at Edinburgh 2014 season supported by Creative New Zealand.

Special Recognition Award – Ela To’omaga-Kaikilekofe ($5,000)

Porirua born and raised Samoan Ela To'omaga-Kaikilekofe has been a visual artist, a jeweller/body adornment artist and sculptor for nearly two decades. Currently based in New Caledonia, the multidisciplinary artist’s work draws on her Pacific heritage, focusing on contemporary adornment and urban expressions of heritage and culture. Ela’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, and she has collaborated with many artists, including interdisciplinary artist Shigeyuki Kihara, sculptor Patrice Kaikilekofe, kanak bamboo specialist Hervé Lecren, musician/harpist Natalia Mann and the Pacific Sisters. Ela is also a tour and events manager, producer/director, project coordinator and exhibition curator.

Heritage Arts Award (2 recipients) ($5,000)

Sinakiteu Women Development Group – Established in January 2013, the group was formed in response to the Christchurch earthquakes to empower Tongan women to believe in their own unique leadership and development qualities. Sinakiteu means “well prepared” in Tongan, which is the driving concept behind the group – to pass on heritage arts knowledge and skills to Tongan women in Christchurch.

Ioane Aleke Fa’avae – With Niuean and Tongan roots, Ioane has vast experience in the Niue culture and language. He is a broadcaster, educator, choreographer, translator, interpreter and a researcher. Ioane has taught Vagahau Niue from primary to tertiary level and currently teaches Vagahau Niue for adult learners voluntarily. Last year he wrote a handbook for learning Conversational Vagahau Niue for Pacific Education Centre. He has led, composed and choreographed dances which were showcased at previous Pacific Arts Festivals.


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