Artist wins innovation award

Lonnie Hutchinson. Photo by Sam Hartnett, courtesy of Creative New Zealand.

Lonnie Hutchinson. Photo by Sam Hartnett, courtesy of Creative New Zealand.

It’s been a busy year for artist Lonnie Hutchinson (Ngāi Tahu, Samoan), and being awarded the Contemporary Pacific Artist award for Innovation by Creative New Zealand is another welcome accolade.

Established in 1996, the annual awards acknowledge the richness, diversity and excellence of Pacific art in New Zealand and Lonnie is one of six artists who will receive their awards at a ceremony in Wellington on 4 November.

Auckland born and raised, Lonnie is delighted to have been recognised by Creative New Zealand and says the award is a fantastic addition to what has been another busy year.

“As always, I’m working on multiple projects. My father was a panel beater and I always think of my life as an artist as being similar – you’ve got to have ‘a lot of cars in the garage’ at the same time to make a living,” she says.

Lonnie is currently working with Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri on a work for the new Justice Precinct in Christchurch (that’s been on-going for the last 18 months); and she is preparing to exhibit at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Australia in December. Her nationwide touring exhibition is currently showing at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

Lonnie is also one of three artists shortlisted by the Auckland City Council to produce a public artwork for the façade of the Allen Melville Hall in High Street, Auckland; and Christchurch arts writer, Cassandra Fusco has written a feature on Lonnie for the internationally regarded magazine, World Sculpture News.

And as she heads in to 2016, Lonnie is preparing for the biennial Arts Fair in Auckland.

“That’s always a great opportunity for New Zealand artists,” she says.
“Collectors from as far afield as Australia and Europe come to the fair, so it’s a good place to be seen and there’s always the possibility of selling work or being picked up for international shows.”

In 2016 she will also exhibit with well-known Māori artist Reuben Paterson (Ngāi Tūhoe) at The Vivian in Matakana, north of Auckland – “we will exhibit both individual and collaborative works,” says Lonnie.

Known for her multi-media to approach to her art – drawing, sculpture, installation and moving image – Lonnie is increasingly driven by research into her Māori and Polynesian heritage, with a particular focus on women’s customary arts and practices.

As well as a prolific exhibiting career both nationally and internationally, Lonnie has been awarded a number of international residencies and awards, and has made work for numerous large scale commissions. She was the first female artist awarded the prestigious Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies residency programme at the University of Canterbury, and was also a recipient of the first International Indigenous Art residency at the Banff Centre in Canada in 2003.