Welcome to WSA

History of the Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award

In its first year, 2000, the award of $10,000 was given to artist Gavin Hipkins for his photo of a soap dish.  In 2001 performance artist and hip hop DJ Daniel Malone received the award for his image of a graffiti covered cricket pitch. The next year Dave Stewart’s controversial ‘beer crate’ sculpture was chosen as the winner.

In 2003, Tobias Berger, Director of Artspace in Auckland, chose Rohan Weallens’ ‘To The Moon and Back’, made of 80-90 layers of bright yellow paint cut open and peeled back to expose flesh coloured layers beneath. “All these layers of paint made me think about time and sexuality…art and sex being some of the oldest pursuits given to humankind.”1   

2004's exhibition featured a selection of artists that came from locations all around New Zealand but also from varying levels of career development and experience.  Curated by Sophie McIntyre of Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, the show reflected the diverse range of concerns and lines of enquiry currently being explored by New Zealand’s contemporary art practitioners.

The National Contemporary Art Award receives generous support from Trust Waikato, the Hamilton City Council and the Waikato Museum of Art and History.

1Tobias Berger 2003

History of the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award

In the second year of the Waikato National Art Awards, because of the controversy surrounding the winning entry of 2000, the WSA decided to support two separate Art Awards. Initially known as the ‘Summer Waikato National Art Award’, the focus became specifically painting and printmaking. The winner of this $10,000 award in 2002 was the painting ‘Hush’ by artist Lorraine Rastorfer. The next year Ruth Cleland was the 2003 winner for her aquatint and graphite print ‘Interstice’. The judge was Linda Tyler of the Hocken Gallery, Dunedin.

In 2004 the prize money grew to $20,000 and judge Anna Bibby, of the Anna Bibby Gallery Auckland, chose Auckland artist Seung Yul Oh to receive the prize for his painting, ‘It’s ultra moisture and protein rich formulation smoothes’. “It’s comic-book doodle style is certainly offhand – you might even call it punk – but it has attitude. When I saw the work I thought here’s someone to watch.1

The award is kindly supported by donation from the Phillip Vela Family Trust.

1Anna Bibby 2004