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Small but mighty

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Iwi Le Comte has won this year’s $10,000 Rotorua Museum Supreme Art Award with his work Te Ipukarea.

Iwi Le Comte. 'Te Ipukarea', 2019. Ōnewa stone, pearl inlay. Rotorua Museum Supreme Award 2019

Leafa Wilson, who chose the winners of the Rotorua Museum Art Awards in a blind judging process, says that while Te Ipukarea was the smallest work in the entire exhibition, it has the most overwhelming and warm presence. ‘I was immediately drawn to this work which is made of Ōnewa stone and pearl inlay. Lovingly made with contemporary tools, the aspirations, mana and mauri of Le Comte's tīpuna have breathed life into this taonga. The scale of a work doesn't automatically signify the mana that it exudes.’

The Toi Ohomai Innovation in Art Award went to Heather Kremen for her work Protected in the Night, Bree Straker received the very first ever Lockwood Youth Award for her work Ruby, and Mark Noble was named as Friends of Rotorua Museum Emerging Artist for his work Why-Tangi.

‘The breadth of media and subject matter always makes it difficult to compare any aspect of one work to another let alone choose one work over another. However, there are a number of works which stand out aesthetically, through the mauri and conceptual strength and for the artists approach to their subject,’ says Wilson.

The four winning works will be on display, along with 54 other finalists, in the Rotorua Museum Art Awards 2019 Finalist Exhibition at the Energy Events Centre, Rotorua until 10 November.



Heather Kremen. Protected in the Night, 2019. Glass. Toi Ohomai Innovation in Art Award 2019

Bree Straker. Ruby, 2019. Acrylic on glass. Lockwood Youth Award 2019

Mark Noble. Why-Tangi, 2019. Clay and pencil. Friends of Rotorua Museum Emerging Artist Award 2019


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