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Kaipara art shines at awards


- By Julia Wade

An impressive showcase of exceptional artistic talent was celebrated recently with the 2017 Kaipara Lifestyler Art Awards.

Host and driving force behind the event, Kaipara Art Awards chair and Lifestyler sales manager, John Pickworth, says the awards is a celebration of the artistic endeavours and creative bravery shown by Kaipara artists.

“They challenged the observer to engage,” he says. “I’m deeply proud of this event.”

Held for the first time at Mangawhai Art Gallery on September 22, the awards was a collaborative event between Mangawhai Artists Inc (MAI) and Dargaville Arts Association (DAA), showcasing paintings, sculptures, wood carvings and multi-media pieces from 47 artists.

“It is a stunning display,” Chair of DAA and owner of the Lifestyler, Allan Mortensen says. “What I really enjoy is seeing two communities on different sides of the Kaipara working together… we have a really good relationship.”

Chair of MAI, Mary-Anne Boyd, acknowledged the role sponsors played in stimulating and motivating creativity which plays ‘an important role in the general well-being of the community’.

“Creativity and art in its many forms are core to the lifeblood of Kaipara,” she says. “Inspiration not only comes from the natural environment, but from the many creative people in our midst.”

The difficult task of judging the different categories of art was in the experienced hands of Northland graphic designer, artist and owner-curator of On The Edge Gallery, Richard Cranenburgh, who also organises Whangarei Hospice’s annual Charity Art Exhibition. He says he was impressed with the presentation of the gallery and diversity of submitted work which was of a ‘high standard.’

“I selected the winners based on work that really stood out, which spoke to me,” he says. “Art has to be able to excite and stimulate the senses, to communicate something to the viewer… it doesn’t have to be perfect or PC… it just has to have soul.”

The Kaipara Lifestyler Art Awards exhibition is available for viewing at Mangawhai Art Gallery until October 10 before moving to Dargaville’s Muddy Waters Gallery on October 14.

Organisers would like to acknowledge the following sponsors: Mangawhai Optometrists, Flax & Fibre Gallery, Pub Charity and Westmoreland Homes.

See mangawhaiartists.co.nz for more information.

1: Winner of the 2-dimensional category, Mangawhai artist and Head of Arts at Otamatea College, Rebecca Clist with A Walk In The Evening Garden. “It’s a bit overwhelmingly and unexpected,” she says. “I’ve been focusing a lot on art lately and dabbling in floral works, so this piece is about merging the two things together.”

2: Jenny McPherson’s 2-dimensional ‘Seagull’ received second place.

3: A mixed media creation of driftwood and ‘found objects’ titled ‘Tony the Tui from Tawharanui’, won Mangawhai artist Elena Nikolaeva, first place in the 3-dimensional category.

4: Yvonne Tana placed second with her 3-dimensional raku red clay sculpture, ‘Moe Moea’. The Dargaville artist recently returned to ‘telling stories with clay’, after suffering a stroke 15 years ago, and says she likes to create big bottoms, as ‘no one else does and people will then know it as an Yvonne’.

5: Wood artist John Ecyer won the 3-dimensional judges award for his art bowl ‘Evolve’, presented by Heather Carrigan from sponsor Flax & Fibre Gallery and Lifestyler host John Pickworth.

6: Judge Richard Cranenburgh explaining his criteria for art, ‘you just need to go with your instinct.’ He says it was great to meet the artists behind the art and is available for individual critiquing.

7: The art awards demonstrates the array of ingenious and visionary artistic skill that resides in Kaipara.

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