Art Awards 2017

The IHC Art Awards provides artists with an intellectual disability the opportunity to have their talent recognised, their voices heard and to sell their work. It highlights the talent and achievements of people with intellectual disabilities.

Emma Lou wins 2017 IHC Art Awards

Wellington-based artist Emma Lou (centre) has won the 2017 IHC Art Awards and $5000 with her finely detailed pastel drawing, self-titled Emma Lou.

Emma worked on her piece for almost a year. The large, mainly pink, mauve and blue drawing features tiny pictures of animals and fish and human faces as well as characters in both Cantonese and English.

Emma devotes a lot of time to her art – three days at the IHC Alpha Studio in central Wellington and two days at Aranui vocational base in Kilbirnie. She uses calligraphy pens along with felt pens, pencil and ink pens to achieve the detail she wants in her works.

Emma Lou is an extraordinary piece of work and a thoroughly worthy winner,” says Wellington artist and Art Awards Judge Gina Matchitt. “The hours of work that has gone into the intricate details of the piece is simply awe inspiring.”

Second prize of $2000 went to Wellington artist and 2016 Winner, Jo-Anne Tapiki (left) for her tapestry work Kiwiana, and third prize of $1000 was won by Cherie Mellsopp of Hamilton for her drawing Jade on Black.

Auckland based Judges Tim Walker and Boh Runga said that the calibre of art produced by this year’s 30 finalists was worthy of inclusion in any gallery. “The quality of work in 2017 was outstanding and covered a wide range of medium and subjects, which made the judging process very difficult,” says Tim.

“But the three winning pieces really stood out and each artist deserves to be recognised as a winner,” said Boh.

For the second year in a row WORLD fashion director Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, undertook the role of Art Awards Ambassador. “It cannot be overstated what a wonderful medium art is for eliciting joy in both artists and appreciators alike,” says Denise. “I think every artist with an intellectual disability should be encouraged to enter the Awards and share in that joy.”

There were nearly 400 entries in this year’s Awards, including sculptures, installations and textile art, painting and drawing. The IHC Art Awards are open to all New Zealanders with an intellectual disability, age 13 or over, whether or not they use IHC services. 

The top three prize-winners were picked out of 30 finalists nationwide and announced at Shed 6 in Wellington on Wednesday 30 August. The finalists' work was auctioned at the even, with all proceeds from the sales going solely to the artists.

People's Choice Award

Hamilton artist Julian Godfery won the 2017 IHC Art Awards People’s Choice Award for his work, Invisible Magic.

This is the second year in a row that Julian has won the People’s Choice Award after winning in 2016 for his artwork Tapa.

Invisible Magic is a finely detailed patterned drawing created using pen and ink, which Julian says is a style of drawing that he greatly enjoys.

The artwork was selected as a clear favourite from the 30 finalists in this year’s IHC Art Awards, receiving a total of 194 votes.

Amy Lewis’ self-portrait A Happy Face, came in second with 101 votes, closely followed by Bricharne Hastie’s colourful representational work, Flowers, which received 84 votes.

Julian was presented with the People's Choice Award and his prize of $1000 at the Shed 6 celebration on Wednesday 30 August.


Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet – IHC Art Awards Ambassador

Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, is co-founder of internationally acclaimed fashion house WORLD. Denise has been involved with the IHC Art Awards since 2009 and became an Ambassador in 2016, something she is very honoured to do.

In 2009 she met an artist through the Art Awards, and has employed this lady part time in WORLD's Head Office since then. "It is about supporting people in whatever way you can. They give back so much more than you could ever imagine, we have learnt so much from Jojo," Denise says.

2017 IHC Art Award Judges


Gina Matchitt

Gina Matchitt is a Wellington-based artist whose work draws on her Māori tribal affiliations, Te Arawa and Te Whakatōhea and is a fusion of Māori and Pakeha (European) concepts. Her work has been widely exhibited in New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, United States and Switzerland. Gina’s work is found in many major New Zealand public collections, including Te Papa Tongarewa - The National Museum of New Zealand, and the Auckland Art Gallery.

Boh Runga

Boh Runga was not content with a music career fronting one of the country’s most successful bands, Stellar*. Since the band disbanded in 2010, she has formed a number of creative partnerships – with Che Fu in 2010 on The Winery Tour and, in 2012, she was back writing music and performing with Anika Moa and Hollie Smith. Boh’s creative partnerships outside of music continue with her Boh Runga for NZ Mint Jewellery, a make-up product under Boh’s name launched by Shiseido, and her Monarch butterfly-inspired rug design for Designer Rugs ‘Kiwi Icon’ collection. Armed with a guitar and a sketchbook, with her head full of melodies and ideas, Boh’s creations flow from the studio to stage and catwalk. Boh first judged the Art Awards in 2013. 

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is an Auckland-based arts and culture consultant. After three decades in the art gallery sector (as fine arts curator at Waikato Museum, senior art curator at National Art Gallery/Te Papa and director at The Dowse) he set up his own company and now works with arts organisations, government departments, local government, iwi and tourism operators throughout New Zealand.


The Holdsworth Charitable Trust

IHC would like to acknowledge and thank the Holdsworth Charitable Trust for once again generously supporting the IHC Art Awards in 2017. The Holdsworth Charitable Trust has been the major sponsor of the IHC Art Awards since 2014 and IHC is extremely proud of the long association between the Holdsworth Charitable Trust and the IHC Art Awards.