Inaugural Awards Honor Early Career NZ Artists

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Inaugural Awards Honor Early Career NZ Artists
Joe Sheehan, 'Black Drops', black Australian jade, and 'Fantail Necklace', south island kokopu jade.

WELLINGTON.- The Arts Foundation of New Zealand and Presenting Sponsor Freemasons announced the recipients of the inaugural 2006 New Generation Awards at a function in Wellington. The New Generation Awards provide donations of $25,000 each to five artists who have demonstrated excellence in the early stages of their careers. Five Awards of $25,000, donated by the Freemasons, will be presented by the Arts Foundation every two years to artists from any art form for them to invest in developing their careers, including creation of new work or development opportunities such as further education.

“Having established the Laureate Awards for mid career artists and the Icon Awards to honour senior artists, the Arts Foundation recognised the need to support and honour artists at the early stage of their careers, “said Ros Burdon, Arts Foundation Chairman.

“The Foundation believes it’s important to award and celebrate the young artists who have demonstrated richness, range, strength and depth for their stage of career and a huge potential to carry on as high achieving artists. These artists not only contribute significantly to New Zealand now, but are also the arts champions of tomorrow.”

The five 2006 New Generation Award recipients are: Eve Armstrong, Visual Artist; Warren Maxwell, Composer/Arranger/Guitarist/Vocalist/Singer/Collaborator; Tze Ming Mok, Poet/Fiction Writer/Journalist; Joe Sheehan, Stone Artist and Jeweller; and Taika Waititi, Actor/Writer/Film Director.

2006 New Generation Artists

Aucklander, Eve Armstrong is one of New Zealand’s establishing artists whose art practice involves the use of “found” materials, with a particular passion for packing tape. Her work appears in the SCAPE 2006 Biennial of Art in Public Space exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery and she will participate in Turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial 2007.

Warren Maxwell is a well-known musician in the Wellington music scene. Former founder of the very popular (now disbanded) Trinity Roots, Warren is now a member of the high profile group Fat Freddy’s Drop and was a finalist at the APRA Silver Scroll Song Writers Award in 2004. He has also a member of recently formed psychedelic blues quartet, Little Bushman, who released their first album on November 27 this year.

A familiar name in the literary world, Aucklander Tze Ming Mok has had her poetry, fiction, reviews, features and opinions published in Landfall, JAAM, Sport, The Listener and the Sunday Star Times. Her short story Daily Special also appears in The Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 2 and her poem An Arabic Poetry lesson in Jakarta was selected as one of the Best New Zealand poems in 2004. Tze Ming’s Blog/Public Address Yellow Peril is hugely popular and she is currently working on a novel.

Wellingtonian Joe Sheehan is one of New Zealand’s finest stone carvers who takes a contemporary look at the relevance and position of greenstone in today’s world. He had his first solo show Stonedog at Avid Gallery in Wellington in 2004 and earlier this year exhibited Clean Green at FHE Gallery in Auckland.

Taika Waititi, actor, writer and film director has been involved in the film industry and theatrical productions in Wellington for a number of years. Taika’s short film in Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 and his film Tama Tu was officially selected for the Berlin Sundance and Aspen Film Festivals in 2005. His first full feature film Eagle vs. Shark has received major support from the NZ Film Commission and has recently sold the North American rights to Miramax. The film is due for release in April/May of next year.

David Mace, Grand Master of Freemasons New Zealand is pleased to be getting behind the next generation of artistic talent.

“The New Generation Awards will not only give artists a financial boost, but also the confidence to reach new heights in their careers. Freemasons New Zealand encourages New Zealanders to aim high and achieve well for the benefit of the whole nation.”

Neil Paviour-Smith, Managing Director of the Arts Foundation’s Principal Sponsor Forsyth Barr said: “We applaud the Foundation’s commitment to New Zealand arts and artists through the establishment of this new Award.

The New Generation Awards sees the Arts Foundation increase its distribution this year across all programmes from $270,000 to $395,000. We are delighted to have the Freemasons, renowned for their philanthropic support, join the Arts Foundation’s list of supporters.

The New Generation Award recipients were chosen by curator, Jon Bywater, teacher, critic, theorist, and organiser of contemporary creative practices, specialising in visual art and music. In addition to the $25,000 donation, each artist was presented with a sculpture designed by well-known glass artist, Christine Cathie.

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