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MMCA - Painting & Drawing 2023 Finalists Announced!

Out of 454 entries , 50 have been selected to make up the finalist's exhibition


Out of 454 artworks received for the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award Painting & Drawing 2023, the three preliminary judges Leafā Wilson, Susanna Shadbolt and Hannah Ireland have selected 50 works to make up the finalists exhibition this round. Delivered by Arts Whakatāne, the MMCA is one of Aotearoa New Zealand's longest running and most vibrant national contemporary art awards.

Whakatāne locals Lea-Anne Sheather, Sarah Hudson and Sarah Jane Moon have made the cut, along with 3 other Bay of Plenty artists Vicki Fraser, Paul Darragh and Maraea Timutimu.

The full list of finalists is up at

After the work has been called in from throughout the country, it is curated and installed by the Whakatāne Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi Gallery team. It is then up to the sole guest judge  - esteemed arts educator and practicing artist Kelcy Taratoa, to select the final award winners. With a prize pool worth over $22,000, the award is highly sought.

Invitations to the opening and awards event on Saturday 4th February will be limited, and it is anticipated that they will be in hot demand, as well as the hugely popular judge’s talk the following morning. Visitors to Whakatāne will be welcome to enjoy the exhibition during the gallery opening hours until from 5th February - 19th March 2023. 

The Molly Morpeth Canaday Award – Painting & Drawing 2023 is presented by Arts Whakatāne and Whakatāne Museum and Arts. The program is made possible through the generous support of the Molly Morpeth Canaday Fund, established by Frank Canaday in memory of his wife Molly Morpeth Canaday, along with other major sponsorship. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular and well-attended exhibitions on the national arts calendar, with many visitors expected from throughout Aotearoa.


Prize Pool:

  • Molly Morpeth Canaday (Whakatāne) Fund Major Award $10,000
  • The Akel Award Runner Up $4,000
  • Craigs Investment Partners Youth Art Award $2,500
  • Highly Commended Award sponsored by Robinson Law $1,500
  • Highly Commended Award sponsored by Whakatāne Museum and Arts Charitable Trust $1,000
  • Highly Commended Award sponsored by Arts Whakatāne $1,000
  • Merit Award sponsored by Gordon Harris $500
  • Merit Award sponsored by Browne School of Art $500
  • Local Merit Award sponsored by 4ArtSake $500
  • Merit Award sponsored by Frames by Daniel $500 (product)
  • People's Choice Award sponsored by Whakatāne Society of Arts & Crafts Inc. & Anne Tolley $500
Further information: 

What: MMCA Painting & Drawing  – 2023

Where: Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre - Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi

When: Opening night and award ceremony Saturday February 4th 2023 by invitation, Judges talk Sunday February 5th2023 with the finalist’s exhibition continuing from Sunday 5th February  - 19th March 2023.

Contact details: 
Lynette Fisher - Award co-ordinator

Written by

Molly Morpeth Canaday Award

14 Dec 2022

The Molly Morpeth Canaday Award is one of New Zealand's longest running and most vibrant national contemporary art awards.