Turkish artist and curator Misal Adnan Yildiz to select winners for the 2016 National Contemporary Art Award of New Zealand. 

This year’s first prize winner will receive NZD20,000 and the award exhibition will be on show at Waikato Museum from 3 September to 4 December 2016.

Portrait of Misal Adnan Yildiz. Photo by Fabian Schewe. Image from Artspace New Zealand.

Portrait of Misal Adnan Yildiz. Photo: Fabian Schewe. Image from Artspace New Zealand.

National Contemporary Art Award

Since 2000, New Zealand’s National Contemporary Art Award has promoted and celebrated New Zealand’s contemporary artists. Hosted by the Waikato Museum, the Award invites a new judge each year who in turn curates the final awards exhibition by choosing the winners. Past winners and judges have included:

  • Artist: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith; Judge: Aaron Kreisler, Head of School at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury
  • Artist: Deanna Dowling; Judge: Simon Rees, Director, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand
  • Artist: Locust Jones; Judge: Rachel Kent, Senior Curator of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Sydney, Australia

As Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham states in the press release, the Award “has documented New Zealand contemporary art for 17 years […] and provides a platform for artists to show their work”. While the Museum only took over administration of the Award in 2006, the final exhibition has always been held at their premises since the Award’s inception in 2000.

2016 Judge: Misal Adnan Yildiz

Turkish artist and curator Misal Adnan Yildiz, current Director of Artspace New Zealand and former Artistic Director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart Germany, will judge the 2016 edition of the Award. During his time in Germany from 2011 to 2015, Yildiz’s organised solo exhibitions with Slavs and Tatars, Hito Steyerl, Cevdet Erek, Annika Eriksson and the group exhibition “Skeptical Thoughts On Love” and “Future Scenarios With An Open End” (PDF download).

2016 National Contemporary Art Award judge Misal Adnan Yildiz. Image from Waikato Museum.

2016 National Contemporary Art Award judge Misal Adnan Yildiz. Image from Waikato Museum.

Yildiz was a graduate of Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) in Psychology and later the Sabancı University (Istanbul) where he completed his Master of Arts. The artist-curator aims to examine how public imagination, social criticism and collective creativity are perceived in diverse cultural, political and social contexts. Endeavouring to merge his education in psychology with his passion for literature, Yildiz worked at various prestigious international curatorial and research programmes and was a nominee for the ICI Independent Curatorial Vision Award in 2012.

In the summer of 2013 Yildiz realised the exhibition “A History of Inspiration” organised within the scope of Nouvelles Vagues at the Palais de Tokyo. During this time he also worked as a curatorial collaborator of the 13th İstanbul Biennial and was awarded the Curate Award 2014 together with Michael Wang and Evelyn Simonds.

2016 Award: Increased prize pool

The 2016 Award enjoys an increased prize pool of NZD20,000 courtesy of sponsors Chow:Hill and Tompkins Wake. Meanwhile, this year’s three merit award prizes of NZD1,000 each are sponsored by the Friends of Waikato Museum, Random Art Group and David’s Emporium. Meecham states, quoted by Scoop:

We’re very pleased to announce an increased prize pool this year but this award represents more than winning; the opportunity for our finalists to exhibit their work in a high-profile gallery for three months is not to be underestimated.

The winner and merit award winners will be announced at a ceremony on 2 September 2016 at Waikato Museum, and the award exhibition will be on show at Waikato Museum from 3 September until 4 December 2016.

Michele Chan


Related Topics: New Zealand artists, awards ceremonies, museums, fundingartists as curators, curators, curatorial practice, events in New Zealand

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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