IHC Art Awards 2021: Winners announced

Media release
29 September 2021

Dannilee Kokiri from Lower Hutt has won the IHC Art Awards for 2021 and a $5,000 prize.

Dannilee’s ‘The Chakra Forest’ was judged number one out of nearly 400 entries from artists with intellectual disabilities.

Fifteen-year-old Lily Reardon from Christchurch has won the Youth Award and $1,500 for her pen drawing ‘My Mind’. This is the first year the IHC Youth Award has been presented.

Matthew Tonkin from Auckland has won the L’affare People’s Choice Award and a prize of $2,000 for his screen print ‘Aeroplane’ after receiving more than 4,500 votes.

“This was another year of incredible art,” says IHC’s Janine Stewart. “I’ve been involved with the awards since their establishment in 2004 and every year there’s something new with an increase in alternative mediums this time around.”

The winners of the IHC Art Awards are selected by a judges panel of high-profile New Zealand artists. This year’s judges were Judy Darragh ONZM, Paul Hartigan and Otis Frizzell who completed the judging online due the nationwide lockdown.

The L’affare People’s Choice Award has been chosen by the public who were able to vote for their favourite artwork from thirty artworks put forward for the award.

The winners are:

First Place Winner – Dannilee Kokiri from Lower Hutt for her acrylic painting ‘The Chakra Forest’.

Second Place Winner – Deshan Walallavita from Hamilton for his acrylic painting ‘Friesian Cow’.

Third Place Winner – Emma White from Hamilton for her acrylic painting ‘Portrait of Amy Winehouse’.

Youth Award Winner – Lily Reardon from Christchurch for her pen drawing ‘My Mind’.

L’affare People’s Choice – Matthew Tonkin from Auckland for his screen print ‘Aeroplane’.


  • First place overall – $5,000
  • Second place overall – $3,000
  • Third place overall – $2,000
  • Youth Award – $1,500
  • L'affare People's Choice Award – $2,000

The IHC Art Awards were first held in 2004 and remain an annual highlight as a showcase for the talent and achievements of people with intellectual disabilities. Entries are open to New Zealanders aged 13 or over with an intellectual disability regardless of whether they use IHC, IDEA Services or Choices NZ services.

The recent lockdown meant a gala awards ceremony, which was initially scheduled for the end of September to take place at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, was unable to go ahead.

The Top 85 artworks are on show at the IHC Art Awards Pop-up Gallery at 69 Willis Street, Wellington, which is open to the public until 9 October. Many of the artworks will be auctioned via Trade Me from 30 September with 100% of the sale price going directly to the artist themselves.

“IHC would like to say a huge thank you to our major sponsors – The Holdsworth Charitable Trust and William Robbins,” says Janine Stewart.

“We’d also like to thank L’affare for sponsoring the L’affare People’s Choice Award and all those who get online to vote or buy a piece of extraordinary art.”

“Finally, thanks and congratulations to all the talented artists, and their supporters, from across the country who submitted artwork covering everything from sculptures, installations, and textile art, to painting and drawing.”