Waikanae artist Kate Hartmann says she was surprised and honoured to receive the ArotakeToi – Mahara Arts Review Open Award, one of four announced at the opening of the Review exhibition in Toi MAHARA’s Coastlands gallery.
The biennial Review is one of the major events on the Toi MAHARA exhibition calendar. It was timed this year to coincide with the festival programme celebrating the reopening of the gallery after its two-year rebuild.
The Review was created more than a decade ago to give Kāpiti and Horowhenua artists the opportunity to showcase the diversity and quality of art being produced across the district.
Kate Hartmann couldn’t attend the opening function and was surprised when her phone was flooded with messages in the minutes after the award for her work, Marking Time, was announced by Toi MAHARA patron Darcy Nicholas, who described it as a wonderful piece of creative art in any country.
“Building the base from glued pieces of newspaper and the visual statement that time is only a moment in space, the broken parts of the clock were symbols of the uncertain future – brilliant abstract visual words,” he said.
“It is an absolute honour to receive this award,” says Kate Hartmann. “It’s made more meaningful by being given amongst my peers in my home gallery and at this very special time with the reopening of Toi MAHARA.
“I was very surprised! You know when you have created a strong piece, but I was amongst a very talented peer group of artists. I was very honoured.
“It started as my work usually does with a feeling – a nostalgic yearning for the past, simpler perhaps easier times, a questioning of what is truth and what is not.
“I remembered I had put away a stash of old newspapers found during a house renovation a few years ago. The old Dominion and Evening Posts from 1949 and 1950, beautifully patinaed with age, had been used to pack out the hot water cylinder.
“I started to read through the pages and was immediately struck by some differences but also many similarities to the present. Some things change, some stay the same, but time is constantly passing.”
Kate Hartmann says she shares the view of many artists that her art practice is a vocation.
“It’s a compulsion to create, to explore and make real the thoughts in your head.
“I have been drawing and painting since I was a young child. I remember getting into trouble regularly for doing things like creating sculptures out of the bath soaps and bringing all sorts of ‘materials’ into the house.”
Today Kate Hartmann is best known for establishing Tutere Gallery and Creative Space and developing the 100 Days a Journey programme which she has run for the past six years.
“In August this year I was fortunate enough to be able to reclaim my studio space and gallery at Waikanae Beach,” she says.
“This allows me to not only create more artwork but to have a physical space in which to connect with other creatives to work on community and social arts initiatives which I am passionate about.”
Darcy Nicholas, who selected the works for the exhibition as well as the award recipients, said he’d been greatly impressed by the quality of the work submitted.
As well as Kate Hartmann’s award, which was sponsored by Coastlands, Ben Caldwell (sponsored by Toi MAHARA) and Storm Davenport (sponsored by Angela Buswell Team Harcourts) received Merit Awards while Rosemary Mortimer received the Highly Commended Award (sponsored by Athfield Architects).
A further award, The People’s Choice category, sponsored by the Friends of MAHARA, will be made during the last weekend of the exhibition based on visitor votes.
Arotake Toi | Mahara Arts Review will be showing in the Coastlands gallery until 28 January, 2024.
Photo: Kate Hartmann with Marking Time.