Finalists Announced for Prestigious $20,000 Sculpture Awards

60 New Zealand artists have been selected as finalists for the inaugural Richard T Nelson Awards for Sculpture. 84 sculptures will be exhibited as part of the NZ Art Show 2021 in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday weekend, where they will be vying for a top prize of $15,000 and five highly commended prizes of $1,000. The five winners will be announced on June 3rd at the show’s VIP preview.

Carla Russell, facilitator of the award and Executive Director of the NZ Art Show, is absolutely thrilled with the results.  There were more than 270 entries which is an outstanding result for the inaugural award.

‘Divison’ by Matthew Williams
‘Out There’ by Matt Akehurst
‘Colour Chromatic’ by Ramon Robertson

‘The calibre of entries was remarkable and the diversity of work put forward has left me in absolute awe of the talent in Aotearoa,‘ said Russell. ‘What excites me most is how the artists are honouring their chosen material. For example, some artists are doing stunning things with jade, things I couldn’t imagine possible. In my eyes, all the final artworks are taonga and showing all of these small sculptures together at the NZ Art Show is going to be very special.’

The 84 sculptures will be on exhibition within the NZ Art Show and all will be for sale. ‘This addition to the NZ Art Show will offer attendees something new and interesting and we are excited to highlight the importance of sculpture in the NZ arts scene’, says Russell, ‘It makes sense to both us and Richard to hold the award within the NZ Art Show as it offers a significant space and an audience of more than 10,000.’

Sculptors include Matthew Williams, bronze and stone sculptor from Christchurch, New Plymouth stone artist Renate Verbrugge, Auckland mixed media artist Olivier Duhamel, Ramon Robertson from Auckland, pounamu artist Andrew Doughty, Wellington artist Tim Larkin, Wellington bronze artist Brett Rangitaawa, one of New Zealand’s leading foundrymen, and renowned land artist Chris Booth.

The styles, subject matter and range of materials are beautifully diverse including: bronze, wood, concrete, ceramic, steel, pounamu, stone, marble, found objects, copper and bone.

The awards were founded by Wellington businessman, philanthropist and art collector Richard T Nelson in a move to champion small scale sculpture. Richard appreciates the elegance and grace of sculpture, and wishes to reward technique and true craftsmanship through this award.