Provocative comb wins sculpture award

The Small Sculpture Award
Waiheke Community Art Gallery
Until February 21.

The winner of the national art award - the Waiheke Island Community Art Gallery’s 2011 Small Sculpture Award - is Maori/Pacific Island Aucklander Lonnie Hutchinson. Her winning entry, “Comb”, emerged from a 10-year exploration of her own cultural identity and family history. The comb is imbedded with images of a naked woman which are playful, provocative, exotic and sensual.

The $3000 prize provided by the gallery attracted 100 entries from throughout the country and the 25 selected works made an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition that is attracting hundreds of visitors said gallery director Linda Chalmers.

The Small Sculpture prize, an award for an original free-standing or wall sculpture up to 800mm in any dimension, is being held in conjunction with Waiheke Island’s biennial Sculpture on the Gulf.

Hutchinson’s winning work in steel and red paint was described by selector and art academic Dr Peter Shand as very elegantly made – particularly from the point of view of its design features. “It handles scale really, really successfully. What stands out for me is that while a modest work in terms of scale, it holds a sense of intrigue and delight. It is also very humorous.” He described the works domestic scale as offering “a tremendous balance” to the larger outdoor works on display,

Hutchinson, who is a Samoan Maori (Kai Tahu) from Mt Albert, says her work is a vehicle for telling stories about tribal myths and landscapes, gender identity, spiritual ceremonies and rituals.

She started making combs out of wood while at art school and said “wanted to develop the concept”. A recipient of the first International Indigenous Art residency at the Banff Art Centre, in Alberta, Canada in 2003. 

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