21 Apr 2024

Arts News: NZ wins Golden Lion at Venice while Israel keeps its doors closed, Aardman Animation in NZ & government talks arts strategy

From Culture 101, 3:00 pm on 21 April 2024
Mataaho Collective's Takapau in Stranieri Ovunque, Foreigners Everywhere at the 30th Venice Biennale.

Mataaho Collective's Takapau in Stranieri Ovunque, Foreigners Everywhere at the 30th Venice Biennale. Photo: Ben Stewart

Aotearoa New Zealand has won one of the world’s most prestigious art prizes this weekend.

Mataaho collective have been awarded the Golden Lion award by a jury for their large scale work in the main curated exhibition at the 60th Venice Biennale, which opened this weekend. 

Held every two years, the Biennale is sometimes dubbed the Olympics of the art world and its achievement that Creative New Zealand’s Amanda Hereaka has dubbed as “the equivalent of winning a gold medal.”

Meanwhile, in a significant weekend for art in Oceania and Indigenous artists worldwide, the other major award at Venice, The Golden Lion for National Pavilion has been awarded to Archie Moore, Australia’s representative at the Biennale. It is the first time Australia has won this award.  

In other news from Venice, the artists and curators of the Israeli national pavilion announced their decision this week not to open until "a ceasefire and hostage release agreement is reached" in Gaza.

It comes on the opening preview day of the largest and most prominent global gathering in the art world.

The presence of Israel at the Biennale has been widely criticised. 

Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury have signed a multi-year agreement with the training arm of famed British stop motion makers - Aardman Animations.

The university says it has the potential to redefine the animation landscape in Aotearoa. 

The university has become the only educational institution in New Zealand and the Pacific territories to specialise in Aardman stop-motion animation. An agreement is already in place in Australia.

Animation students studying a Bachelor of Digital Screen with Honours, will receive training directly from industry leaders - including Aardman staff. 

Aardman Academy was created at a time when the studio needed more animators to produce their 2000 feature Chicken Run, which went on to become the highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time. 

In an article for The Big Idea website, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Paul Goldsmith has indicated it's time for the country to develop an arts creative sector strategy.

Something he says he had been initially skeptical about. 

Minister Goldsmith suggests the four pillars of a strategy should be setting an aspirational target, ensuring the regulatory environment enables success, spending government money wisely so that it leverages further input from philanthropy and commerce, and thinking in terms of sustainable creative careers.

In economic terms, Goldsmith says the arts and creative sector contributes $16.3 billion to the economy.

He's asking whether it would be possible to double the sector's contribution to GDP and export revenue in seven years.

Goldsmith says he plans to continue consulting the sector on a strategy over the coming months, with all ideas welcome.

SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music has announced the appointment of Dr Hannah Darroch as its new Chief Executive. 

Dr Darroch is currently Principal Flute of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the University of Canterbury's School of Music, and programmes music for RNZ Concert. 

Her doctorate looked at connections between the timbre of taonga pūoro and its use in contemporary Aotearoa flute works

The finalists for the Aotearoa Music Awards have been announced. 

Stan Walker and Avantdale Bowling Club's Tom Scott lead the nominations, with Walker up for five awards..

The Beths are finalists in 3 categories, Aradhna is nominated ahead of the release of her first album in 8 years and 2023 Taite Music Prize winner Princess Chelsea is a finalist for three awards.

The awards will take place at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre on the 30th May. 

A  Treaty of Waitangi display at Te Papa in Wellington which was spray painted late last year will be taken down next week. 

Te Papa co-leaders Arapata Hakiwai and Courtney Johnston say keeping the panel in place temporarily had led to some valuable conversations, but the time was right for a brand-new exhibition. 

The altered panel will be stored by the museum, with no decision yet about its future.

The New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Awards have been taking place this week. 
James S Watson collected the 15 thousand dollar main prize for his work A Quiet Place to Rest.

The awards are run by the Waikato Society of Arts The Print Merit Award. Zara Dolan won two thousand dollars for her work - The title encodes the process. 

Those who are deaf, blind or have low vision, or who can't physically make it into the theatre have been given more opportunity at Pōneke Wellington's BATS Theatre - through live streaming online, real time captioning and audio description thanks to funding from the ANZ Staff Foundation. 

Audio description is a narrated commentary for blind and low vision audience members. which gives descriptions of the visual elements transmitted to wireless receivers and headsets worn by the audience members.  

There's new music from a Lennon and McCartney partnership - just a slightly different one. 

James McCartney and Sean Ono Lennon - the sons of Beatles members Paul McCartney and John Lennon have co-written a song - called Primrose Hill. 

The acoustic ballad is an ode to the panoramic viewing spot in London's Regent Park. 

McCartney says he's excited to release the track with his "good friend".