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Pioneer artist honoured with Arts Foundation Icon Award

Pioneer artist honoured with Arts Foundation Icon Award

Visual artist Jim Allen (MNZM), widely considered a pioneer in his field, has been recognised by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand as an Icon.

In a special ceremony held at the Auckland Art Gallery on the evening of Tuesday 15 September, Jim Allen has been presented with the Arts Foundation’s most prestigious award. The Arts Foundation Icon Awards – Whakamana Hiranga, honour senior New Zealand artists for their extraordinary achievements.

Arts Foundation Executive Director, Simon Bowden says, “Icons are artists whose work represents a legacy to, and a mark on, our culture. Jim Allen is a hugely influential artist and we are thrilled to be able to call him an Arts Foundation Icon.”

Limited to a living circle of artists, each Icon Award recipient receives a medallion crafted by stone artist, John Edgar. The recipient’s name is engraved in the medallion, and is later returned to the Arts Foundation for presentation to a future recipient. The artist also receives a pin, which is kept by the artists’ family in perpetuity.

The medallion, now held by Jim Allen, has a rich history. It was previously awarded to the late Barbara Anderson, who received it from actor and film maker, Don Selwyn. In a moving tribute to her Grand-Mother, Lucy Anderson, a 23 year old Auckland-based English Teacher, presented the accolade to Jim Allen.

Tina Barton, Director of the Adam Art Gallery, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington delivered the citation. She said that Jim Allen has been described as “a pioneer of Post-Object Art in New Zealand in the 1970’s. He is widely regarded as the most influential art educator of his generation both in New Zealand and Australia. His transformation of the sculpture department at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Art into a ‘hothouse for ambitious experimental art’ occupies an almost ‘legendary’ place in the history of contemporary art in New Zealand.”

Sir Eion and Jan, Lady Edgar are Patrons of the Icon Awards, appointed by the Arts Foundation after Sir Eion's retirement as a Trustee in 2010 and following their remarkable $500,000 donation to the Foundation.

Sir Eion has long been a champion of the Icon Awards and says "too often our most celebrated artists have gone without recognition. The Icon Awards offer New Zealanders the opportunity to congratulate our most accomplished artists on their achievements and to celebrate their work with them."
The Arts Foundation has been privileged to have honoured these artists as Icons;

Ian Athfield (1940 – 2015) ARCHITECT, Barbara Anderson (1926 – 2013) WRITER, Ralph Hotere (1931 – 2013) VISUAL ARTIST, Margaret Mahy (1936 – 2012) WRITER, Donald Munro (1913-2012) OPERA PIONEER, Arnold Manaaki Wilson (1928-2012) SCULPTOR, Dr Pakariki Harrison (1928-2008) CARVER
Alexander Grant (1925 – 2011) BALLET, Len Castle (1924-2011) POTTER, Don Peebles (1922-2010) PAINTER, Diggeress Te Kanawa (1920-2009) WEAVER , Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) POET, Don Selwyn (1935-2007) ACTOR/DIRECTOR, Janet Frame (1924-2004) WRITER, Jack Body (1944-2015) COMPOSER

Raymond Boyce THEATRE DESIGN, Jacqueline Fahey VISUAL ARTIST, Marti Friedlander PHOTOGRAPHER, Maurice Gee WRITER, Peter Godfrey MUSICIAN, Patricia Grace WRITER, Sir Peter Jackson FILMMAKER, Russell Kerr CHOREOGRAPHER, Sir Donald McIntyre OPERA SINGER, Milan Mrkusich VISUAL ARTIST, Geoff Murphy FILM MAKER, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa OPERA SINGER, Greer Twiss SCULPTOR, Sir Miles Warren ARCHITECT, Dame Gillian Weir CONCERT ORGANIST, Ans Westra PHOTOGRAPHER, Dr Cliff Whiting VISUAL ARTIST, Jim Allen VISUAL ARTIST


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