90 Thought Provoking Finalists Announced for Prestigious $20,000 Sculpture Awards

Vibrant crocheted wool, insect wings, delicate pounamu and silver works are among the 90 sculptures selected as finalists in the RT Nelson Awards for Sculpture. The collection of sculpture, all for sale and all vying for the top prize of $15,000

“We are so thrilled with the applications this year. It’s exciting to put small sculptures in the spotlight and to dedicate an entire section at the NZ Art Show to highlight these awards is fabulous for the makers, knowing that their work will be admired by 1,000s of attendees’, states Carla Russell, who is charged with facilitating these awards.  “I can promise that people will be absolutely wowed and, in some cases, challenged by the contemporary nature of some of the finalists. It’s an exciting time for sculpture.”

‘Tawhirimatea’, stone carving by Andy Waugh
‘Aniwaniwa’ by Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole

The works are a far cry from hand-crafted homewares but are works of fine art. The styles, subject matter and range of materials are beautifully diverse including: bronze, wood, concrete, ceramic, gold, silver, steel, pounamu, stone, marble, found objects, harakeke, and insect wings. Artists are experimenting with recycled materials such as concreate salvaged from an earthquake site, 44 gallon steel drums, plastic bread ties and textiles. 

 ‘This addition to the NZ Art Show presents a dynamic dimension to the show and seeing them all together in one space will highlight the importance of sculpture in the NZ arts scene’, says Russell.

Sculptors include Andy Waugh, Nelson based stone-carver, abstract artist Chris Jackson from Wellington, Nuala Gregory, multi-disciplinary artist and Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland and Wellington artist Stevei Houkāmau who works with harakeke and clay.

Textiles also feature in this year’s awards with dynamic and challenging artworks by Tess Wing, recently graduated from Dunedin School of Art, Wesley John Fourie, emerging soft sculpture artist from Whanganui and Pop Art duo from Auckland Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole.

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.

Awards Finalists Exhibition

The finalists will be exhibiting at the 2022 NZ Art Show in Wellington, June 2 – 4.
The winners will be announced June 2nd.
Please note that vaccine passports will need to be shown at the door to gain entry to the venue.

‘Snowball’ by Tess Wing

The NZ Art Show wishes to thank the following for their support: