Nature inspires youngsters’ art

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Teachers, artists and whanau of Just 4 Kids, winners of the Supreme Award at the Polyfest Art Exhibition. Photo: Supplied

THE 10th anniversary 2019 Polyfest Art Exhibition is a “master class” in celebrating the art of Southland’s youth.

Hosted by Miharo, the annual exhibition attracted 929 entries from primary schools, secondary schools and early childhood centres.

Miharo programme development manager Tania Carran said the entries were of a very high standard this year.

Verdon College Year 9 pupil Denzal Mahia, winner of the Polyfest T-shirt design competition. Photo: Supplied

Miharo director Pauline Smith said the deep engagement the children had with their artwork was evident.

Master Class was the theme of this year’s exhibition, drawing inspiration from the masters, supported by the whakatauki (treasured saying) Ma mua ka kite a muri, ma muri ka ora a mua (those who lead give sight to those who follow, those who follow give life to those who lead).

The entries were judged by Ari Edgecombe, of the Southland Museum & Art Gallery, and Greg McDonald, of Chiaroni Gallery.

Smith said Edgecombe spoke at the exhibition’s opening about how many of the young people had used nature as the master to inspire their work.

He in turn had been inspired by the children’s work and intended to go out and appreciate nature and incorporate it into his work, she said.

Miharo business development manager Mandy Smith said a noticeable feature of this year’s exhibition was the number of artworks created in collaboration with others.

Aurora College’s entry Poutama was a great example, with all teachers and pupils contributing to the piece, she said.

The entry earned Aurora College first place in the Year 10-13 section and a special Innovation award.

Home-based child care Just 4 Kids’ Tane Mahuta entry took out the Supreme Award, for outstanding concepts and execution, as well as a Collaborative Project Award.

The annual exhibition was officially opened at a function at ILT Stadium Southland last week. It runs until September 8.

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