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Lowdown #26: Who's scoring the moolah?

06 Nov 2018
While the overseas news has us on the edge of our seats, Emma Johnson sure knows how to remind us how good we have it here with her whistle stop tour of NZ's latest art news and opportunities.

Money matters: Who is scoring the moolah?

Berlin-based Ruth Buchanan has won the ‘country’s top contemporary art’ award, the biennial $50,000 Walters Prize, which ‘aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life’. Judge Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director of Brazil’s São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) described Buchanan’s mixed-media installation Bad Visual Systems to the NZ Herald as ‘complex and intellectual but also playful and humourous’. Back in July, Mark Amery produced a series of interviews with all four shortlisted artists on RNZ – you can listen to Ruth Buchanan’s here.  

It was heartwarming to read in the NZ Herald's Art Goes Under the Hammer that Shane Cotton, Lisa Reihana, Star Gossage and Gretchen Albrecht have donated work to raise funds for the Wairau Maori Art Gallery.  The world’s first purpose developed contemporary Maori art centre, housed in Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre, is expected to be completed in 2020. The impressive selection of donated artworks goes to auction at Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tim Melville Gallery tomorrow night (Wednesday 7 November), and in case you’re not in that big smoke: here’s a great preview on Artsdiary.

Also putting money in the pot (an impressive $90,000 in total!) for the creation of new works by New Zealand artists were the 450 people who went along to the Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation’s first Art Do on Saturday 27 November, as reported on Stuff. Described as ‘New Zealand’s biggest art party’ by event organisers, the new format fundraising event involved collaborations across food, music, art and design, and reflects the gallery’s shift in strategy to create “bigger and more ambitious work”.

In public funding, the latest round of CNZ Arts Grants have been announced and a quick skim down the list reveals many extraordinary projects. Among them Alien Weaponry taking their te reo metal to Japan, Jacqueline Fraser and Yuki Kihara making new works, and Nick Bollinger writing a book on counterculture. Read the full list here.     

Finally, Kapka Kassabova has won the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan prize, and a cool £25,000 for her book Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Dame Anne Salmond’s Tears of Rangi also made it to the shortlist).

Scroll down to the base of this article to catch more moolah opportunities for those with passion and talent!

Rambling and crawling  

Twenty-two venues in Wellington are about to have their rooms warmed with words as part of the fifth edition of LitCrawl. This Saturday (10 November) 130 writers feature across 26 sessions in a night that weaves literature into the urban fabric. An extended programme also runs over the weekend traversing poetry, anxiety, food and bilingual futures. LitCrawl Director Claire Mabey talks about organising the festival and balancing family life here at The Big Idea, while Pantograph Punch lists its top picks for the festival.

Featuring in the extended programme are Pantograph Punchers Matariki Williams and Lana Lopesi, with Anthony Bryt and Simon Gennard. Their session ‘Writing Art Right for Aotearoa’ promises a look at the state of art criticism and writing in NZ. Something we need to do more of according to Kate Powell, who recently wrote here on the The Big Idea: ‘The state of mainstream arts criticism in New Zealand is akin to the self-eating snake that is beginning to choke.’  

‘The state of mainstream arts criticism in New Zealand is akin to the self-eating snake that is beginning to choke.’  

The first children’s imprint from a university press is in the works. Annual Ink, a joint venture between Massey University Press, Kate de Goldi and Susan Paris, will develop content for eight to 13-year-olds, which according to de Goldi currently ‘lacks variety and depth’, a consequence of the economic pressures facing the industry.

And taking home the award for services to Children’s Literature at the Ignition Children’s Book Festival, which finished November 4, is Dunedin-based writer and illustrator, Robyn Belton.

Telling our own stories

While Kirsty Dunn penned an essay for The Spinoff last week calling for a shift in New Zealand fiction away from issues of national identity, members of the Pan-Asian Screen Collective talked to Lynn Freeman about the need for more Asian stories on our screens. Director Roseanne Liang  and Shuchi Kothar, academic and filmmaker, talked through the collective’s aims – including nurturing young creatives, lobbying funding bodies and redressing the woeful lack of representation.

A group of leading Pasifika creatives, including Courtney Sina Meredith, Victor Rodger, Paul Fagamalo and Leki Jackson-Bourke (who was recently named emerging Pacific Artist of the Year) came together to take a look at a future Auckland with Guerilla Collection, a free festival of 30-minute movement pieces curated by Neil Ieremia. Each piece involved Black Grace dancers, and considered ‘the future of the world’s largest Polynesian city through a Pacific lens’. Black Grace put on free buses to transport people into the city and encourage as many people as possible to participate. How cool is that?!

Guerilla Collection presents 'the future of the world’s largest Polynesian city through a Pacific lens'

Legacy and loss

Maurice Mahoney, Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, ‘gentle giant of Kiwi architecture’ and one of the two founders of the seminal architecture practice Warren & Mahoney, died in Christchurch on Wednesday 31 October at the age of 89.
NZIA president Tim Melville told The Press that he was "an outstanding practitioner who, calmly and without fuss, made a great contribution to the architecture of his city and country."

From the Christchurch Town Hall to the Michael Fowler Centre, some of the country’s most important and recognisable buildings where the fruits of the Warren & Mahoney partnership, which was surely one of the country’s most prolific creative alliances. Although their style of post-war modernism left its mark on architecture across Aotearoa, today few of their Christchurch buildings remain. They count among the 250 heritage buildings demolished post-quake – many of them unnecessarily, according to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust – and several for development reasons. (For an overview of Christchurch’s lost heritage, visit Heritage New Zealand’s list).

One heritage building given a new lease of life after time as a Baptist church and nightclub is Dunedin’s Hanover Hall, which has been restored to become the permanent home of Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. The building was opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday 2 November.

Opportunities: More chances for moolah

The Whanganui Arts Review, run by the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, has a new sponsor on board for its Open Award. The longest running arts review in New Zealand will now offer a cash prize of $5000, in addition to a solo show at the gallery. The award is open to any artist living or working in the Whanganui region. More info can be found here.

New awards, grants and workshops for your creative development!

Massey University’s College of Creative Art is offering six $10,000 study awards for post-graduate studies in design, Māori visual arts and fine arts to Māori and Pasifika students or artists for 2019. Applications close 3 December - for more information on eligibility and criteria, visit here.

There are a few weeks left to apply for the Auckland Museum Research Grant ‘for writers wishing to work on a project that will utilise the resources of the Auckland Museum’s Library’ as part of developing a manuscript. Open to members of the New Zealand Society of Authors, the grant includes $5000 and four weeks accommodation at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport. Move fast: applications close 23 November.

Last but certainly not least, for those living in Hamilton, the Pantograph Punch is bringing an arts-writing workshop your way on Friday 16 November.  

And for those of you interested in getting into some vital and resourceful crafts yourselves, check out Rekindle’s Necessary Traditions Festival in Christchurch, which we featured in a story here.

But wait...there’s more!

Forget about the “7 weeks ‘til Christmas’ stress - there’s lots and lots to look forward to once we hit 2019!
The Auckland Arts Festival have announced their 2019 programme - so much goodness coming to Tāmaki Makaurau next March! Ross McCormack’s new production As It Stands promises to be breathtaking, Wild Dogs under my Skirt were an audience favourite at the Nelson Arts Festival, and who doesn’t love a good Indie Rock gig? Death Cab for a Cutie will be playing at the Civic. Better get that moolah ready, and book your tickets.


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News and content ideas are welcomed for future editions of Arts Media Lowdown. Please send to [email protected].

Image credits, from the top:
Ruth Buchanan, BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS (installation view), 2016/2018. Mixed media, dimensions and durations variable. Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery.
LitCrawl 2017, photographed by Vanessa Rushton.
LitCrawl 2017, photographed by Vanessa Rushton.
Harewood Memorial Gardens Crematorium. Image courtesy of Warren & Mahoney.
As it Stands (performance view). Image courtesy of Muscle Mouth and Auckland Arts Festival.