Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design and the Eden Arts Trust are delighted to announce the winners of the prestigious annual Eden Arts Art Schools Award held on Thursday 7 August 2014. The Overall Winner was Whitecliffe Year 4 Fine Arts student Alex Matthews, who won $5,000 in prize money. One of the three Highly Commended awards, with a prize of $1,000, went to Whitecliffe Year 3 BFA student Giulio Laura.
The Eden Arts Art Schools Award brings together Central Auckland's four major art institutions: AUT, Auckland University Elam School of Fine Arts, Unitec and Whitecliffe. Six Fine Arts undergraduate students were selected as finalists from each school. Whitecliffe finalists included students James Black, Jonathan Dunbar, Giulio Laura, Alex Matthews, Tanya Martusheff and Christina Pataiali’i.
The awards have proven to be an annual success for Whitecliffe students since their inception in 2011. Previous Overall Winners from Whitecliffe have been Donna Summers in 2011, and Veronika Djoulai in 2013. In 2012 Suhee Kang won the Board’s Choice award and Mark O’Donnell also received a Highly Commended award in 2013.
Whitecliffe Head of Department Fine Arts Noel Ivanoff, comments on the significance of the awards for his students: “Over the four years that the Eden Arts Art Schools Award has been running, students have really valued being able to place their work alongside students' work from other Auckland based arts institutions. By being open to all media, including performance, the awards have none of the compromises and format limitations that often bedevil art competitions. This means that the awards can truly reflect the range of contemporary art being produced in art schools today. The finalists’ work is blind judged (judges see no details of the artist’s name or institution) creating a strong sense of the work being assessed solely on its merits.”
The judges were National Business Review arts writer John Daly-Peoples, Auckland Art Gallery director Rhana Devenport, and artist Dick Frizzell. Rhana Devenport says of the award, “This is a remarkable exhibition that articulates the mood and concerns of young Auckland artists working today. John Daly-Peoples, Dick Frizzell and I were equally impressed with the strength of vision and the breadth of materials at play in these works. From vestiges of Arte Povera to the possibility of painting today, from the immediacy of video to communicate social realities to poetic extensions of digital animation and photography; these works push and pull at our senses and deliver an overwhelmingly optimistic stance about the state of art practice today.”
Overall Winner Alex Matthews says that her series The shadow creeps round made up of photographic prints paired with objects, “brings together signifiers of the past and present, fiction and reality, where the subjects create their own nostalgic narrative.” Highly Commended award winner Giulio Laura talks about his award winning mixed media installation Contro L’Estetica Pittorica: “My work prioritises colour, form and texture. When I create, it is imperative that I re-purpose objects, operate sustainably and resourcefully to generate multi-functional objects.”
The award exhibition hosted this year by the School of Art & Design at AUT University is open for public viewing at their ST PAUL St Gallery located at 40 St Paul St, Auckland City. Exhibition dates are Friday 8 August to Friday 22 August 10am-5pm (closed Sunday and Monday). For more information, please visit the Eden Arts Award website.