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Funding, Recognition and Resourcefulness

Beacon by Lang Ea; Milford Reserve. Photo: Jay Farnworth.
Oscar Hetherington's award-winning photo, Back Wash.
Asaki Kajima and Space Cow.
New Arts Icons Sam Neill, Joy Cowley and Dr Sandy Adsett. Image: Arts Foundation.
It's the Lowdown bite-sized edition, with your arts news bulletin broken down to look at some of the milestones and moments that deserve the spotlight.


Mark Amery is away on a well-deserved holiday break - but we know there’s still a hunger for what’s been making news in the arts world. 

Consider this week’s Lowdown more of a light meal than a feast - it’s enough to have your creative interest fueled…

CNZ’s 12-month plan

Like a leaky tap, there seems to be an endless flow of updates from Creative New Zealand over the past few months - and their latest information drop has plenty to take in. 

While there’s been regular releases of very welcome funding and teases of more to come, Friday saw a substantial block of detail laid out for the investment plan for the next 12 months - ahead of August’s openings.

There’s a lot to digest with details clearly outlined on the CNZ website, but after months of ebb and flow and moving goalpost, this should hopefully provide many with a clearer picture of what the future might hold.

This is the $25m of new money the government trumped up with in late May. CNZ is clearly signalling a change in thinking in their investment planning over the next 12 months and (not surprisingly) is saying there are “lessons learned” from their heavily oversubscribed first phase. 

Yesterday was also the last day of notifications for the Arts Continuity Grants and the Emergency Relief Grants - so there will be some celebrating this weekend but many others commiserating.  

Iconic accolade

New Arts Icons Sam Neill, Joy Cowley and Dr Sandy Adsett. Image: Arts Foundation.

Anyone can be a star, but it takes a special breed to become an icon.  The Art Foundation’s exclusive list of Arts icons is limited to “a living circle of twenty of New Zealand’s most significant artists.”  

Welcomed onto that list are three fitting inductees who all received some mainstream media attention; internationally acclaimed and locally adored actor, writer, producer and director Sam Neill, prolific author and the cornerstone of many a creative childhood Joy Cowley and Visual Artist and Māori Art Educator Dr Sandy Adsett.

Musical enlightenment

Speaking of elite company, only three New Zealanders have ever reached the number one single spot on the UK music charts. Lorde, Kimbra - and now Jawsh 685.

The South Auckland teen’s collab with American hitmaker Jason Derulo Savage Love hit top spot in both hemispheres, sitting aloft the charts here as well.

In another unexpected collab, New Zealanders Junelle and Abraham Kunin managed to convince the Dalai Lama to make an album with them called Inner World which has been released this week to coincide with his 85th birthday.

It was actually recorded five years ago and produced in the Kunins Auckland home studio - a combination of the Dalai Lama’s teachings and original music.

Will Arts Stand Tall in Tāmaki Makaurau? 

Beacon by Lang Ea; Milford Reserve. Photo: Jay Farnworth.

Auckland Council’s Emergency Budget in the post-COVID world raised a lot of eyebrows in the creative community - and the response should raise plenty of them at Council chambers as well. 

Feedback submissions exceeded more than 34,900 in the three-week window - the highest number of submissions received on a consultation since the council’s formation in 2010.  We’re hopeful many of them were making a stand for the arts, as called for here on The Big Idea in reaction to the multi-million dollar cuts set to be enforced.    

Council received all the feedback and decisions will be made on 16 July and a budget for 2020/2021 will be formally adopted on 30 July.

You only need to look at the stunning Beacon sculpture and lighting installation from artist Lang Ea, recently activated at Milford Reserve to see that investment’s impact - it remains unimaginable to have such vibrant public art reduced by 70%, as was the original Emergency Budget plan.

Snap Victory

Oscar Hetherington's award-winning photo, Back Wash.

A Trans-Tasman win that might have gone under the radar. For the fourth year running, A New Zealander has claimed the grand prize at the Sony Alpha Photography Awards.

19-year old Otago Polytechnic student, Oscar Hetherington won the overall honours for his image Back Wash in a competition open to photographers on both sides of the ditch.

And never let it be said that farming and art can’t go hand in hand. Napier’s Asaki Kajima is the victor in this year’s Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award

Asaki Kajima and Space Cow.

As the title suggests, these pieces are done using the most Kiwi of all rural supplies. Kajima’s Space Cow was described by judge James Wright as “raw and simplistic, but it’s heartfelt and that comes through. It’s how a farmer sees the animal when it’s hung, but it’s also an artwork you see on three levels with the shadows it throws.”

You can see all 28 finalists’ work on display at Hamilton’s ArtsPost until 3 August. 

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

11 Jul 2020

The Big Idea Editor

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