The FINANCIAL — Elam School of Fine Arts graduate and current Doctoral candidate Kate Newby has won New Zealand’s most prestigious art award, the $50,000 Walters Prize.
Named in honour of the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the Walters Prize is awarded for an outstanding exhibiton of contemporary New Zealand art produced and shown during the past two years.
Newby’s winning work ‘Crawl out your window’ was described by the international judge, Mami Kataoka, as embracing memories of locations with personal gestures and subtle actions.
“The use of natural light and the way the work gradually crawls out of the museum space is the most reserved but radical way of transcending the fixed architectural space for contemporary art, liberating us towards wider universal space” says Kataoka, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo, Japan.
Newby joins a celebrated list of Walters Prize winners and contemporary New Zealand artists, the majority of whom are graduates of Elam School of Fine Arts. Held every two years since its inception in 2002, two thirds of the winners are former Elam students and one winner – Peter Robinson (2008) teaches at the School. Former winners who studied at Elam include Yvonne Todd, et al, Edith Amituanai and Dan Arps. Like Kate Newby, Dan Arps was, at the time of receiving his award, and still is, enrolled in Elam’s Doctorate of Fine Arts programme.
“The awarding of the Walters Prize to yet another Elam graduate demonstrates the very high quality of our School’s artistic programmes. We challenge and support each of our students to achieve success in all their endeavours – and this is confirmed by the accolades bestowed upon many of them. Their continued successes in this, New Zealand’s pre-eminent art award, are testament to the international standards of Elam’s postgraduate programmes and teaching staff. We are all delighted by Kate Newby's well deserved success" says Head of School, Derrick Cherrie.
As the University of Auckland reported, Elam graduates have dominated Walters Prize nominations since the award began. The list includes: Gavin Hipkins, John Reynolds, Yvonne Todd, Jacqueline Fraser, et al, Stella Brennan, Phil Dadson, Edith Amituanai, Lisa Reihana, Fiona Connor, Saskia Leek, Dan Arps, Alex Monteith, Simon Denny and Sriwhana Spong.
The Walters Prize was established by Founding Benefactors and Principal Donors Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs, working together with Auckland Art Gallery and aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life.