Monday, November 24, 2008

$125,000 for the New Generation

Five New Zealand artists have each received $25,000 and been recognised for their early achievements at the second biennial Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Awards.

The Awards, held in Christchurch, were presented by Freemasons New Zealand, who provide the funding for the New Generation Awards.

The Awards are available to artists practicing in any art form. Recipients are selected by a curator without knowing they are under consideration.

The recipients of the 2008 New Generation Awards are music-maker Jeff Henderson, new media artist Alex Monteith, lyric soprano Madeleine Pierard, writer/actor Jo Randerson and writer Anna Sanderson. Full biographies of the two writers are below.

Arts Foundation of New Zealand chairman Ros Burdon said the New Generation Awards are made to artists to give them an early boost. While New Generation Artists have high level achievements, they have many more years of art making ahead of them.

“The Awards enable recipients to invest the funds in new work or equipment, high level education or other development opportunities, or in some cases to buy time to focus on producing work. We are delighted to once again join with Freemasons and congratulate them all.”

The 2008 curator is Gregory O’Brien, a Wellington-based writer, teacher, and painter who said the task of selecting the five artists was “incredibly difficult but illuminating.”

“I spent over a year whittling down a long list which included over fifty strong possibilities. It was an exciting, difficult yet also illuminating process. It set me thinking about some very basic things about what art is and what it is that artists do.

“When you look at this group of youngish artists, I think what you are seeing is five individuals whose creative worlds are expanding around them. This, in due course, pushes back the boundaries of the real world as well.”

Grand master of Presenting Sponsor Freemasons New Zealand, Stan Barker, said: “Freemasons New Zealand shares the Arts Foundation’s belief in the importance of celebrating artists whose futures are as exciting as their pasts, not just because the artists deserve support, but also because the arts enrich society.”

Managing director of Principal Sponsor, Forsyth Barr, Neil Paviour-Smith, said: “Forsyth Barr partners with the Arts Foundation on many levels to honour and celebrate artistic excellence in New Zealand. The New Generation Awards were created by the Foundation to support those with proven talent who are at an early stage of their career. This recognition and financial assistance will enable them to continue on their journey, be it at home or on the world stage. We are proud to be a part of the Foundation’s vision for these artists and congratulate all of this year’s recipients.”

Jo Randerson
Jo Randerson is a unique theatre-maker with extensive experience in comedy, poetry, literature and theatre.
Majoring in Theatre and Film at Victoria University, Jo became involved as a writer, director and performer through Victoria University of Wellington Student Union’s Drama Club, performing at Bats (Wellington) and appearing on TV doing stand-up comedy.

Jo attended Victoria University’s Creative Writing Course and was awarded the Prize for Best Portfolio in 1996. With Trouble Theatre, she co-wrote The Girl Who Died, Black Monk, Mouth, The Lead Wait and Bleach which was part of the 1998 New Zealand Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the Tramway Festival of site-specific theatre in Glasgow.

Her shows have won the Wellington Fringe Best Comedy (2001, 2002) and Most Original Concept (2006), the Melbourne Fringe Best Comedy (2003), and the Melbourne Comedy Festival Golden Gibbo Award (2004), and have toured independently internationally.

Her writing has been shortlisted for the IIML Prize (2006 and 2008), and earned her fellowships both nationally and abroad. She was a Robert Burns Fellow 2001 (Dunedin), a Winston Churchill Fellow 2003 (Russia) and held a Creative New Zealand/Department of Conservation Wild Creations Residency in 2002 at Cape Kidnappers. Jo won the Bruce Mason Award in 1997 with her first play Fold and was a Billy T James Comedy Award Nominee in 2005.
Jo’s writing includes The Knot, (1998), The Spit Children, (2000) and The Keys to Hell (2004). She has been involved in numerous joint works including participation in a project involving writers and physicists, resulting in the book Are Angels Okay? (2006).

Jo is founder of Barbarian Productions (an independent comic-theatre troupe). She lives in Wellington with her partner Thomas La Hood and baby Geronimo.

Anna Sanderson
Anna Sanderson was born in 1970 on the North Shore of Auckland. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, majoring in photography. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in English and Art History) from the University of Auckland.

She began work as a photographer for the National Library of New Zealand and worked on a photography-based visual practice. In 1995, as a response to the dearth of in-depth art criticism she, with Anna Miles and Tessa Laird, founded and co-edited the short lived but celebrated Monica magazine. It was here that she began to write a kind of journalistic art criticism.

In 1998 she left New Zealand and lived successively in Melbourne, Rotterdam and New York, developing, when not working for money, a writing practice which she describes as a mix of un-focused research and observational study. While in New York she took two adult education classes at the New School University: First ‘Creative Non-fiction’ and then ‘Fiction’. These classes provided her with the opportunity to consider which her writing practice might be.

On a short visa-renewal trip to New Zealand from America in 2004, Anna met her now partner, and stayed. They had their first child in 2005, in the same year that Anna studied for a Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington with Damien Wilkins. Integrating much of the material from the last few years the resulting manuscript, Brainpark, was a work of non-fiction which was published the following year by Victoria University Press.

Since then, Anna has been caring for two young children with her partner. In the background there have been the tentative beginnings of a new project and the occasional writing project, including an essay Dr Yang which received the Landfall essay prize in 2006.

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