Wellington school wins global art prize

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School’s artwork ‘Matariki – Māori New Year’ has won the prestigious 2017 Saatchi Gallery (London) Art Prize for Schools, one of the most significant student art awards globally.

The Wellington school’s creation, paint-pen drawings on see through panels of vinyl, celebrates Matariki with Manu Aute or God kite forms giving tribute to past ancestors as they meet with them in the heavens. It was chosen from more than 24,000 entries across 66 countries.

The collaborative work was created by year six to eight pupils in the school’s specialist arts programme led by renowned Kiwi artist Michel Tuffery. He says the process of making the work collaboratively is a way of celebrating Matariki: “Working together enhanced the awareness of the ‘many’, gave us the chance to talk, laugh, interact and learn as we created together. The process is as important as the finished work. The students came away feeling empowered. They left with (artistic) skills, knowledge about Matariki, how to work together and an overall feeling of well-being.”

The school’s head of visual arts, Kaz Bartsch, says the school brings in a working artist each year to extend and inspire students. “This artwork is a true credit to all students involved, Michel Tuffery, and John Denton, our previous head of visual arts who brought many exciting initiatives to the school.”

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