Six of Seven Awards Announced - Wairarapa Art Review

Aratoi announces six of the seven award-winning works in its biennial 11th Wairarapa Art Review, on view until 16 February.

Selector Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi) - Director of The Dowse Art Museum and also a Selector for Aotearoa’s New Zealand’s participation in the 2021 Venice Biennale - considers regional awards as an “essential part of the art eco-system” and considers the entries to the Wairarapa Art Review to be of a “very high standard” which made his job as a selector – not a judge, he said – to be “both hard and easy”.  

Of the 123 entries submitted by Wairarapa artists working in a range of media such as ceramics, embroidery, jewellery, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and woodcarving, Chitham selected 57 works.


Mandy Emerson - Floral Dance

Aaron Potaka - Wairarapa Raceclub

Dave Wood - The May March

"I wanted to recognize each work and the artist who created them for their unique ability to capture a particular moment in time, whether real or imagined, and to make that moment so engaging I couldn’t forget it."


Karen Madoc -​ The Refinery

"The work I have selected stood out for its bold use of colour and sophisticated understanding of composition. Abstraction is difficult to excel at, but in this case the work succeeds on all fronts. The forms in this painting jostle for attention, pushing forward or fading into the background, transparent yellows and greens overlapping the opaque blues and blacks. Although seeming chaotic at first glance, all the elements in this painting work together to form a balanced harmonious whole.


Rebecca Macfie - Summer Days

"I noticed the winning work from across the room almost immediately. Its striking silhouettes were both familiar and otherworldly, like a half-formed memory or the glimpse of a shadow out of the corner of your eye. This work uses a photographic process that has historical roots but has been embraced by contemporary artists the world over. As an image this work is both simple in subject and approach, yet arrestingly complex in its potential for meaning."


Rebekah Farr - Self [Acceptance] Portrait

"This self-portrait was both visually engaging and haunting at the same time. The assured brush strokes and careful multiplane arrangement demonstrated a confident hand and sophisticated understanding of picture making. I have it on good authority that this is a very good likeness, but more so for me, it was the intense drama of this work that made my decision clear."


Kate Small -​ Te Aroha Mineral Pools

"For this one-off award my task was a difficult one. Many of the works you see here tonight utilise colour as a core element of the work. However, I was repeatedly drawn back to this painting, not just because of its bright use of colour but for the clever use of shades and tones that embodied the atmosphere of the setting it depicts. The warm colours brought back memories of summers spent at pools filled with ruddy complexions and an assortment of swimming attire."


Stephanie Chilcott- Stegosaurus, Spider, Snake

"Not all award-winning works have to shout from the roof tops and this work will for many people be too subtle to make a statement. However, as I have mentioned – it is the works that keep drawing you back that are the most powerful. So this particular work stood out not only as an amazing example of its craft, but also for its considered composition and its clever re-presentation of childhood whimsy. Many of you will know the Dowse Art Museum as a place that is one of our few public galleries committed to collecting and exhibiting craft. So I am always on the lookout for works that are able to straddle the divide between art and craft and this work immediately did that for me without any pretention or overstated intent."


Ian Chapman - Mass Transit

It is always a challenging task to choose one work to be awarded the highest honour at an event like this and I know many of you will have your own favourites. Again, in this instance the work that drew me to it the most was one that invited me to take a leap of faith, to suspend reality and lose any art world preconceptions. The work is beautifully painted and although large in scale, has carefully crafted detail that invites closer inspection. However, it was the feeling this work gave me that made it a stand-out. It made me smile. In the current climate of natural disasters, global conflict and environmental fear, this work allowed me to lose myself in another world filled with wonder, potential and imagination.

Full list of Selected Artists:

Sally Banks / Debra Britten / Esther Bunning / Jason Burns / Helene Carroll / Ian Chapman / Stephanie Chilcott / Paula Coulthard / Jules Crafts / Andree De Latour / Paul Dodge / Lisa Donaldson / Annie Doornebosch / Lindsay Durrant / Mandy Emerson / Kyren Evemy / Rebekah Farr / Trisha Findlay / Sandie Fletcher / Mikayla Forster / Paul Gadsby / Kirsty Gardiner / Janet Green / Diana Griffiths / Wendy Groves / Audrey Hall / Gemma Hall / Matt Hall / Terry Wreford Hann / George Hanratty / Annie Hayward / Adrian Jackman / Evan Jones / Rosalie Jurczenko / Joanne Lee / Sam Ludden / Rebecca Macfie / Karen Madoc / Janet McDonagh / Sandy McNeight / Lisa Nelson / Janie Nott / Aaron Potaka / Stella Rushbrook /  Sandra Schmid / Madeleine Slavick / Kate Small / Leanne Taylor / Maya Templer / Monika Theng / Linda Thornton / Linda Tilyard / Michele Usher / Viv Walker / Sandra Wong / Dave Wood / Iwen Yong

Aratoi invites everyone to vote for the 7th award, the Frank Minehan People’s Choice Award ($500). The winner will be announced on the closing day of the exhibition, 16 February 2020.

“Aratoi considers the Wairarapa Art Review as the finest selection of local art,” said Aratoi Director Susanna Shadbolt, “and the museum always schedules the exhibition during the summer, our busiest period, to showcase it to a large audience.”

Held every two years since 1999, the Wairarapa Art Review is presented by The Friends of Aratoi, the membership organisation which supports the museum.