Wallace Art Awards 2015
Tongan Tapa Cloth by Visesio Siasau has won this year’s Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award.
The contemporary art awards, with prizes of more than $195,000, were presented on September 7 at Pah Homestead in Auckland.
Siasau received a six-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York and a stipend. The work, Tongan customary pigments and dye on bark cloth, measured 4040mm x 18060mm.
Visesio Siasau is a cultural practitioner in He Waka Hiringa, the first Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge program in the Pacific. As part of his graduate research, Visesio spent several months of 2013 in his home village of Haveluloto, Tonga. He worked with his mother and family members to create his first ngatu [tapa], which he decorated with two-dimensional versions of Tongan deities found in his sculptural work.
In his artist statement Siasau says Tufunga’i translates as creation. In Tongan knowledge traditions it describes the origin, philosophy, and illumination found in the production of a ngatu ta ‘uli launima – 50ft black bark cloth. I have given the name of the piece created in my work: ‘o onotu’ofe’uli-onotu’ofekula which references the strands of knowledge inextricably connected to the qualities of light and dark.
Judge Ian Jervis said the work was coherently conceived and executed. He said it “engages the/a community in a project that connects traditional art practices with updated iconography – bringing the past and present together in a contemporary context.”
The 2015 Awards were judged by Joyce Campbell, Andrew Clifford, Ian Jervis, Andrew McLeod and Philip Trusttum. Judges for the Fulbright-Wallace Arts Trust Award were Bronwynne Cornish, Mark Fitz-Gerald, Richard Maloy and Steve Rood.
Other awards presented were the Fulbright-Wallace Arts Trust Award for musician Phil Dadson, Kaipara Wallace Arts Trust Award for Hugo Lyndsay, Wallace Arts Trust Vermont Award for Russ Flatt, first runner up to Rose Meyer, second runner up to Virginia Were, and jury award to Andrea du Chatenier.
This year the Wallace Arts Trust received 531 entries from which 85 entries were selected as finalists. From the finalists 50 have been chosen for the Award Winners & Travelling Finalists exhibition and the balance is represented in the Salon des Refuses.
The Wallace Art Awards are the longest surviving and largest annual art awards of their kind in New Zealand and aim to support, promote and expose New Zealand contemporary art and artists.
2015 Award Winners – The People’s Choice Award is announced at the end of the touring exhibition, $750 is awarded.
The Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award
Visesio Siasau, Tongan Tapa Cloth, 2014, Tongan customary pigments and dye on bark cloth, 4040 x 18060mm. Visesio Siasau receives a 6 month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, USA.
Fulbright-Wallace Arts Trust Award
Phil Dadson, OCTET, 2014, spun aluminium, stainless steel, 8 channel audio, 1200 (diameter) x 650mm. Phil Dadson receives a 3 month residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, USA.
Fulbright New Zealand Executive Director Penelope Borland says “We are honoured to have Phil Dadson as the recipient of the Fulbright-Wallace Arts Trust Award. His work is such a unique combination of sound and visual elements.”
“It is particularly special to Fulbright New Zealand that Phil will be spending his residency revisiting the earlier work he created 25 years ago on a Fulbright New Zealand Award, having maintained a lifelong link to the United States after his Fulbright experience.”
The Kaipara Wallace Arts Trust Award
Hugo Lindsay, strip club or massage parlour, 2015, graphite compound and spray paint on cotton, 1100 x 1000mm. Hugo Lindsay receives a 3 month residency at the Altes Spital in Solothurn, Switzerland.
The Wallace Arts Trust Vermont Award
Russ Flatt, Outside Edge, 2015, photographic print, 1188 x 840mm, Russ Flatt receives a 3 month residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont, USA.
First Runner-up Award
Rose Meyer, Posted Drawing Box (Wallace), Rose Meyer is awarded $2,500. 2015, ballpoint, paper, cardboard box, postal system (drawing device: wheels, wood, pen cartridge), 610 x 460 x 150mm.
Judge Joyce Campbell says, “This was a very elegant, simple, articulate, conceptual piece, which directed itself precisely to the award and the anticipation of a touring show.”
Second Runner-up Award
Virginia Were, Human Zoo, Bondi Icebergs, Virginia Were is awarded $2,500. Sydney, 2015, colour photograph printed on Fuji crystal archive paper, 620 x 830mm.
Andrea du Chatenier, Lucky Man, 2015, This prize is non-monetary. Clay, steel, pinstripe suiting, 2100 x 700 x 500mm.
Judge Joyce Campbell says, “Funny, dark, materially sophisticated, bold in scale and subject matter. This work is rigorous without taking itself too seriously – loaded with psychological intensity – but also pleasure.”
The Award Winners & Travelling Finalists exhibition will be exhibited at:
- Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre: 8 September – 8 November 2015
- Pataka Art + Museum: 28 November 2015 – 7 Feb 2016 (opening: 29 November, 2pm)
- Wallace Gallery Morrinsville: 18 February – 24 April 2016 (opening: 17 February, 6pm)
- The Salon des Refuses will be exhibited at the Pah Homestead from 8 September – 18 October 2015.
Source: Wallace Arts Trust