Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington is celebrating after its artwork ‘Matariki – Māori New Year’ has won one of the most significant student art awards globally.

The large collaborative artwork was chosen from more than 24,000 entries from 66 countries to win the  prestigious 2017 Saatchi Gallery (London) Art Prize for Schools. The artwork is on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London from 4th to 13th July.

The artwork was created by Year 6-8 students at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School’s Artist in Residence Workshop and through specialist classes at Marsden led by renowned Artist Michel Tuffery. Invited students from Clyde Quay, Kilbirnie, Khandallah, St Mark’s, Hataitai and Northland Schools also contributed to the work.

Consisting of paint-pen drawings on see through panels of vinyl the vibrant artwork celebrates Matariki, the Māori New Year, with Manu Aute or God kite forms giving tribute to past ancestors as they meet with them in the heavens.

The process of making the work collaboratively is a way of celebrating Matariki, the New Zealand indigenous New Year.

“Working together enhanced the awareness of the ‘many’, gave us the chance to talk, laugh, interact and learn as we created together,” said Tuffery. “The process is as important as the finished work. The students came away feeling empowered. They left with (artistic) skills, knowledge about Matariki, how to work together and an overall feeling of well-being.”

Marsden Schools Head of Visual Arts Kaz Bartsch said the artwork is a true credit to all students involved, Michel Tuffery, and John Denton, the previous Head of Visual Arts at Marsden.

“We are very excited to have won this prize!” says Bartsch, “The win will enable us to enhance our Artist in Residence Programme and provide resources so our students can continue to explore art within and beyond the curriculum. In line with the special character of Marsden we will also continue to ‘give’ to our wider community, by sharing our programmes with other schools.”

Tuffery enjoyed his time working with the students through the school’s Artist in Residence Workshop programme.

“It’s a wonderful exploration when you collaborate together, with another student or human being; it’s the unknown, a voyage of discovery and trust in each other and trying to get that synergy right that is important.”



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