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A detailed collage depicting the first encounters of Maaori and Paakehaa has won the prestigious Campbell Smith Memorial People's Choice Award for the National Contemporary Art Award 2022 at Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.


Attracting the most votes from members of the public, ‘Once Upon a Time’ is a work by Gemma Baldock which reflects the blending of cultures through the artistic process of collage. Her mixed media artwork features cut-out characters painted on handmade paper, inspired by the illustrative style of Polynesian navigator Tupaia (1725-1770) and presented on a scroll which is nearly two metres long.


“I’m so pleased, this is just wonderful. I really appreciate what it means for people to be so supportive of my work!” said Baldock, who is based in Invercargill and described Once Upon a Time as “a labour of love.”


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.


“Many congratulations to Gemma for winning this award. To win the People’s Choice is a real honour and we are grateful to the family of Campbell Smith for continuing to sponsor this prize in the National Contemporary Art Award,” said Liz Cotton, Director of Museum and Arts, Waikato Museum.


“As always, we have been so impressed with the quality of work in the Award, and the high calibre of the exhibition. Ngaa mihi nui to all entrants, to this year’s judge Reuben Paterson, and congratulations again to all our finalists and award winners.”


At the opening of the exhibition in August, artist Emma Hercus was announced as the winner of the $20,000 National Contemporary Art Award for her assemblage work titled Red handed.


The guest judge for 2022, renowned artist Reuben Paterson (Ngaati Rangitihi, Ngaai Tuuhoe, Tuuhourangi), adhered to a blind-judging process to choose the winning work from a pool of 34 finalists, all of which are on display until 13 November in a free exhibition at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.


The Award attracted hundreds of entries from around New Zealand and overseas. Tompkins Wake, one of New Zealand’s leading law firms, and nationally-renowned architects Chow:Hill, have been its co-sponsors since 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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National Contemporary Art Award winners

  • 2022 National Contemporary Art Award, $20,000 prize co-sponsored by Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill
    Emma Hercus for Red handed (acrylic paint and charcoal on MDF board with collage)
  • 2022 Runner Up and winner of the $5,000 Hugo Charitable Trust Award
    Raukura Turei for He Tukuna V (onepū, oil and pigment on linen).
  • 2022 Friends of Waikato Museum $1,000 Merit Award winner
    Sara (Hera) Tautuku Orme for Ko Te Awa Ko Au -Darling (Darz) (photograph).
  • 2022 Random Art Group $1,000 Merit Award winner
    Oleg Polounine for Dits and Dahs (aluminium foil sculpture).
  • 2022 Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award winner:
    Gemma Baldock for Once Upon a Time (mixed media/original collage).

Te reo Maaori

Waikato Museum uses double vowels in te reo Maaori to represent a long vowel sound as it is the preference of the Waikato-Tainui iwi. Artists’ titles are shown in their original form


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