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The Walters Prize 2018: Nominees announced

The Walters Prize 2018: Nominees announced for New Zealand’s foremost contemporary art prize

Four artists have today been announced by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as the nominees for this year’s Walters Prize.

Established in 2002, The Walters Prize is considered the most esteemed award in New Zealand visual arts. It presents the very best of New Zealand contemporary art, as selected by an independent jury, in an exhibition from which a winner will be determined by a widely respected international judge. The Walters Prize exhibition will be held at Auckland Art Gallery from Saturday 18 August 2018 to Sunday 20 January 2019.

The four artworks nominated by this year’s jury as representing the most outstanding contributions to contemporary art in New Zealand in the preceding two-year period are:

BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016, by Ruth Buchanan, exhibited at the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Victoria University of Wellington, 2 October–22 December 2016
The Making of Mississippi Grind 2017, 2017, by Jacqueline Fraser, exhibited at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 20 May–15 October 2017
Whol Why Wurld, 2017, by Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, exhibited at Carriageworks, Sydney, 30 March–25 June 2017
Fāgogo, 2016, by Pati Solomona Tyrell, exhibited at ST PAUL St Gallery, AUT, Auckland, 8 June–21 July 2017

The 2018 Walters Prize jury members are:
Stephen Cleland, Curator, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi
Allan Smith, freelance curator and Senior Lecturer, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
Lara Strongman, Senior Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

An international judge will select the winning work and award the NZD$50,000 prize at the Walters Prize 2018 Gala Dinner in November this year.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says: ‘The Walters Prize continues to engage audiences by providing rich encounters with art of our time. This year is no exception with a group of artists and artworks which captivate us mentally, sensorially and emotionally.’

‘The range of New Zealand art continues to be among the best in the world, showing an ability to draw on areas of local importance in the fast-moving currents of global change,’ she says.

Walters Prize exhibition curator and Auckland Art Gallery Curator, Contemporary Art, Natasha Conland says: ‘Through the Prize, we find ourselves confronted by the strength of New Zealand art, its diversity and ability to face our current moment with fresh visual exchange.’

‘The Walters Prize exhibition offers all audiences a chance to see a great variety of artworks brought together in a dynamic viewing environment.’

‘It’s interesting to see how these artists in their various ways are examining the divergence of “popular culture”, which is unpacked from cultural and gendered positions in their work,’ she says. ‘All artists appear to begin with the here and now, and lead us marvellously astray through their architecture, narrative, and playful distortions of space and time in exhibition format.’

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