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The launch of the Miles Art Awards 2018 at Tauranga Art Gallery last Friday turned into a standout success for tutors and students from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
Two tutors and one student took away three of the five awards on the night, and 10 of the 39 finalists were either Toi Ohomai tutors or students. A sixth prize – the People’s Choice Award – will be announced once public voting closes on 5 August.
Creative Arts tutor Darcell Apelu received The Mayor’s Award of $500 for her work titled To Secure My Place I Must Leave.
Another tutor and former student Lynette Fisher took out the Ethel MacMillan Award and $250 prize money with her work titled My Friend Awhina, 1981.
Third-year Bachelor of Creative Industries student Isaac Crowe won the Incubator Emerging Artist Award for his work Angela of Makawe. This new award gives Isaac the opportunity to exhibit his work at Tauranga’s Incubator Gallery.
Lynette Fisher has been a practising artist for the last 25 years. Last year she graduated from Toi Ohomai’s Bachelor of Creative Industries and began teaching on the Level 4 Certificate in Art and Design earlier this year. Her winning piece uses acrylic on unstretched canvas and is part of a series of works based around rituals of play in the playground.
“I look at concepts surrounding history and my New Zealand woman’s view,” said Lynette. “My art practice is authentic – I produce pieces because it’s within me so I was really pleased when the judge commented that he saw in my art the pure joy of just painting. That’s exactly like it is for me.”
Toi Ohomai Group Manager Mary Stewart was delighted to see so many colleagues and students as finalists, and said tutors and students make up a large part of the Western Bay of Plenty arts community across diverse genres .
“We’re so lucky to have such strength in our teaching team and our students continue to astound us with their unique creative expression and ability.”
“Through our course they learn to develop so much more than just their artistic and creative skills. There is real depth to their work because they learn the whole process of design and conceptual thinking, and they develop the confidence to display their work and enter these kinds of awards.”
The Miles Art Awards began in 2010 and were named after Venetta Miles who is one of Tauranga Art Gallery’s original donors. Entries are open to all Bay of Plenty citizens over 18 and this year over 100 were received.
This year’s supreme award winner, Tawhai Rickard, won a $10,000 cash prize for his sculpture work titled Victorian Waka of Social Curiosities. Cat Thompson won the Friends of Tauranga Art Gallery Award and $1000 prize money for her ceramic work, I cede to you.
The exhibition of finalists will be on display until 2 September. Tauranga Art Gallery encourages people to come and view the diverse range of art and vote for their favourite.