Polynesian Diva reigns supreme at Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards night
24 Nov 2011
Entertainer Annie Crummer has been honoured with the premiere senior arts award at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards in Wellington this evening.
The Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards are the only national Pacific arts awards to celebrate artistic achievement across all art forms, with five awards presented on the night.
Visual artist Michel Tuffery (M.N.Z.M.), winner of last year’s Contemporary Pacific Artist Award and set to open the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, gave the keynote speech; while respected musician and poet Tigilau Ness, father of hip hop icon Che Fu, was Master of Ceremonies.
Chair of Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Committee, Pele Walker, said the awards are an opportunity to celebrate the creative success of those making a difference internationally, nationally and in local communities.
“The awards recognise the richness and diversity of Pacific culture in this country. We honour those who share their expertise, to preserve heritage artforms; and those who push boundaries, to create an exciting contemporary Pacific arts scene in New Zealand,” said Ms Walker.
Annie Crummer’s long-term artistic achievement was honoured with the Senior Pacific Artist Award and $10,000. Starting her music career as a child-performer, Ms Crummer released her first single at age 16 and as an established solo artist, has supported some of music’s biggest acts including Sir Paul McCartney, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson. Of Tahitian and Cook Island descent, Ms Crummer is a household name, with numerous music awards behind her. She has released two albums, a ‘best of’ CD, is working on her next album and has expanded her career to include musical theatre.
New media and installation artist Janet Lilo received the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award and $5,0000. An Aucklander of Samoan, Niuean and Māori ancestry, Ms Lilo uses digital and online platforms to provoke and challenge. Community and audience involvement is a signature of her work. Commended for her innovative practice , Ms Lilo presents insights into contemporary daily life for urban New Zealanders through landscapes, homes, communities and personalities. Ms Lilo’s work has been included in group exhibitions in Honolulu, Taiwan, Indonesia, Europe and Australia. She has recently returned from artist residencies in Japan and New Caledonia.
Christchurch based visual artist Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka suffered damage to his studio, equipment and artwork in the February earthquake. In his studio, Mr Maka had developed a contemporary technique based on the traditional Tongan practice of smoking mats. The resulting artwork has earned him artistic favour and the nickname ‘The Smoke Collector’. Mr Maka’s recent exhibition of smoke paintings, Ngatu Tu’uli – the Past is Now, has lead to invitations to exhibit overseas. His talent and promise was acknowledged by the Emerging Pacific Artist Award and $4,000.
Expert weaver Kalameli Ihaia-Alefosio received the Pacific Heritage Arts Award and $5,000 for the major contribution she has made to maintaining and promoting the art of Tokelauan weaving in New Zealand, especially the techniques and styles of her home island Nukunonu. Mrs Ihaia-Alefosio is an active member of Wellington’s Tokelauan Community and teaches at the first Tokelauan early childhood centre established in New Zealand.
Opera starlet Marlena Tifaimoana Devoe received the Iosefa Enari Memorial Award. This award recognises the late Samoan baritone Iosefa Enari’s contribution to the arts, particularly Pacific opera. Miss Devoe, a New Zealand born Samoan, is in her first year of study at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, New York. Her award was accepted by her family.
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