Artwork made using traditional Niuean techniques and materials has won the prestigious Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award for the National Contemporary Art Award 2023 at Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.
Attracting the most votes from members of the public, ‘Kai Paraoa’ is a hiapo work (tapa/barkcloth painting) by visual artist Cora-Allan, who is of Niuean and Māori heritage.
The title of Cora-Allan’s winning work refers to the kiiwaha (saying) “kai parāoa” which can be translated as “piece of cake” in reference to something being easy.
Cora-Allan has spent recent years focussed on efforts to reawaken the Niuean art form of hiapo. Hiapo is handcrafted through a traditional process where water-soaked bark is beaten with a wooden hand tool to expand its size and create a canvas for painting with whenua (earth) pigment.
The Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the family of Campbell Smith (1925-2015), an artist, poet, playwright and former Waikato Museum Director. It includes a cash prize of $250. The award attracted an unprecedented volume of entries, with more than 420 works submitted by Aotearoa New Zealand artists based here and overseas.
Leading New Zealand law firm Tompkins Wake is the principal sponsor and has supported the competition since 2014.
National Contemporary Art Award winners:
- 2023 National Contemporary Art Award, $20,000 prize sponsored by Tompkins Wake: Tawhai Rickard for Scenes from a Victorian Restaurant (reclaimed wood, enamel/acrylic paint).
- 2023 Runner Up and winner of the $7,500 Hugo Charitable Trust Award: Sung Hwan Bobby Park for BTM Ancestor Portrait (digital photograph).
- 2023 Friends of Waikato Museum $1,000 Merit Award winner: Hannah Ireland for Stained Cheery Wine (watercolour, ink and acrylic on found window).
- 2023 Random Art Group $1,000 Merit Award winner: Sara (Hera) Tautuku Orme for Darling, Tēnei Au (photograph).
- 2023 Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award winner: Cora-Allan for Kai Paraoa (whenua (pukepoto and karangahape blush) on hiapo).