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Te Papa To Collect Winning Anti-Racism Works

Four award-winning visual artworks that embrace diversity and respond to anti-Chinese sentiment in Aotearoa will be acquired by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as works of national significance as part of its historical collection.

The announcement was made this evening at the prizegiving of the Aotearoa Poster Competition. Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon announced the winning artists of the national competition that uses art to embrace the diversity of Aotearoa and to combat racism.

The four winning artworks tackle issues of race, diversity and inclusion in the aftermath of Covid-19, where the Chinese community experienced an increase in racist behaviour towards them. The winning poster artworks will be rolled out in public spaces in cities nationwide to stimulate conversation and to reflect Asian including Chinese-New Zealand communities as part of New Zealand society

One of the competition organisers Bev Hong describes the decision by Te Papa as “momentous”.It's an acknowledgment of the lived experience of many Asian including Chinese-New Zealanders, and validation of the messages that these posters convey", says Ms Hong. “It’s been such a privilege to be part of the team working in collaboration with Chinese community groups and others in this shared kaupapa.”

“Te Papa's acquisition of the artwork means the spirit of the project and the stories told as part of it will be preserved. The collection captures a snapshot of this moment, and this year, in New Zealand society and preserves it in history with an everlasting stamp.”

Dr Grace Gassin, Curator, Asian New Zealand Histories at Te Papa, says they are thrilled to give support to a much needed conversation.

“As a national institution, we are delighted to be able to signal our support for the competition’s anti-racist kaupapa. Asian New Zealanders’ experiences of, and courageous responses to, the targeted racism they have endured during the Covid-19 pandemic are an important part of the national conversation,” says Dr Gassin.

“Collecting the winning posters from the inaugural Aotearoa Poster Competition will allow Te Papa to record not only the wonderful creative efforts of the artists, but also the perspectives and motivations of the organisers who set it up.”

The competition received a groundswell of support over the past several weeks. This culminated in the popular vote category gaining over 1000 votes from the public, with Auckland artist Chloe Or taking out the top spot.

In addition to the popular vote, winners were chosen from each of the three competition categories: Young Persons, New and Emerging Artists, and Established Artists.

A panel of expert judges selected the category winners. The judges were impressed by the diversity in approaches taken and the time, effort, creative thought and artistic talent displayed across the competition posters. A key consideration in the judging was the ability for the entry to stand out as a public street poster with a clear message reflecting the themes, while also connecting to and engaging with the viewer.

Lynda Chanwai-Earle, a Chinese New Zealand award winning playwright and radio host, was part of the judging panel and says it was no easy feat selecting just three winners from an entry pool of such a high calibre.

“As a judge I was impressed by the artistic quality of each entry, alongside the artists’ commitment to uphold the key message of inclusiveness for all in Aotearoa.,” says Lynda.With each artist coming from a different background, each artwork tells a unique story of that person’s worldview and their lived experiences in relation to the competition theme.

In addition to being acquired by Te Papa, the four winning artworks will also be used in a nationwide street poster campaign sponsored by Phantom Billstickers, with an aim to further conversations about race, diversity and inclusion throughout Aotearoa.

Michel Tuffery, an internationally-exhibiting New Zealand-based artist, was another member of the judging panel. Mr Tuffery says that the use of posters will be an effective way to communicate to the masses. “Posters are an accessible vehicle for empowering people with a simplistic message that the public can identify with, challenge and use to start that conversation," he says.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon presented the winners with their awards at the prize giving ceremony on 30 October.

Mr Foon congratulated the winners, as well as the project team for their success with the ambitious project. “I’d like to acknowledge the vision of Bev and the team for their hard work in facilitating this very important work to eliminate racism. Give nothing to racism.

Art was the medium and this was very innovative, and of course the artists’ creations are very inspirational to all.”

Category winners:

Young persons: Minna Zhu, Queenstown

New and emerging artist: Raymund Santos, Auckland

Established artist: Nicholas Reid, Wellington

Popular vote: Chloe Or, Auckland

COMMENTS AND BIOS FROM WINNERS BELOW:

Winners

Young persons: Minna Zhu, City: Queenstown

Bio: My name is Minna Zhu; I’m an NCEA level 1 student (year 11) who is academically ambitious, inquisitive and has a keen interest in all things art. I spend many days embracing my introversion by drawing in my room working on ‘the next best thing’ instead of getting some rest.

Comments from artist about the competition and why they entered:

Deciding to enter this competition didn't require a second thought. I had read the entry information on a google classroom (thanks Mr Richards), and I felt almost compelled to enter because of how much the theme resonated with me personally. Being someone who is passionate about racial matters, art, and who is also of Chinese descent, there wasn't anything stopping me from translating my own enthusiasm for the subject into something physical.

So, in a sense, my poster is the product of my energy and experiences; it's personal, and has a lot of 'me' in it. I think that's why it holds significance to me.

I don't think it's truly sunk in that I am technically a winning recipient for a national competition, or that people have seen my poster and thought it was deserving of something. With the rollercoaster that has been 2020, the excitement from this feels misplaced. Welcome, but misplaced. However, I do have to add that in a way, winning this has made me hungry for more.

New and Emerging artist: Raymund Santos, Auckland

Bio: Raymund Santos is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Auckland. He is currently in his second year studying a Bachelor of Design majoring in Communication Design at Auckland University of Technology.

Comments from artist about the competition and why they entered:

“I entered because ever since highschool I have always been drawn to the topic of Arts and Culture and with this competition I saw this as another opportunity to marry both of my interests while also at the same time contributing for a cause that is timely and relevant in our society.

I am very grateful that I was chosen as the winner for the New and Emerging Artist Award. Having the opportunity to share my poster in a larger platform is a privilege and I hope that through this, my art will be able to inspire New Zealanders to appreciate our differences and celebrate diversity.”

Established artist: Nicholas Reid, Wellington

Bio: My name is Nicholas Reid and I am 23 studying graphic design at Victoria University of Wellington. I was in the navy for four years after living high school and decided I wanted a change in career so I decided to study graphic design which was a passion of mine since high school. I entered this competition as I though the message behind the competition was very important, and wanted to create a strong poster which embodied these values.

Popular vote artist: Chloe Or

Bio: Chloe Or, also known by her artist handle ‘Chloe de la Lune’, is a freelance illustrator and portrait artist from Auckland, New Zealand. She is originally from Hong Kong. She loves to tell stories with her artwork, using subjects like people, animals and flowers with a cute or fantasy twist to intrigue and connect with the viewer. Her art is created with a range of traditional and digital media such as oils, markers, Photoshop and the Procreate app.

Comments from artist about the competition and why they entered:

“My art poster focuses on the importance of celebrating our diverse cultural communities in Aotearoa. I wanted to use the imagery of the beautiful native bird of Aotearoa – the Tui – to symbolise the New Zealanders who have made this country their home, especially with a focus on Chinese New Zealand communities. In the poster, the tui uses the diverse cultures in our communities to ‘paint’ Aotearoa to make it into a more beautiful and colourful place.

As a first generation immigrant of New Zealand, the cause of the competition really resonates with me. I have made New Zealand my home since coming here as a child, and so I feel a strong sense of belonging here. I love how it is vibrant with so many diverse cultures, so I really want New Zealand to keep being a positive and welcoming place that embraces our diverse cultural communities.

I am really thankful to the organisers, judges of the competition and everyone else who made this art competition possible, and also to everyone who has voted for my poster. It’s very exciting to know that my poster will be displayed in public and hopefully will help to make a positive change in our society.”

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