26 July – 26 August 2014

Parkin Prize

Gallery 2 & Annex, Lightspace


Drawing is certainly alive and well in New Zealand with a high standard of entries received for the 2014 Parkin Drawing Award. The competition attracted an impressive 454 entries, of which 81 were selected for the short-list*.

The award attracting a major prize of $20,000 was launched by Chris Parkin, arts patron and owner of Museum Art Hotel in Wellington last year. This year, for the first time, five highly commended prizes worth $500.00 each were also awarded  Those who were selected for the five Highly Commended prizes were: John Ward Knox, Taylor Wagstaff, Dominic McElwee, Ruth Cleland and Nicola Donna.

An advisory panel, consisting of iconic Kiwi artist, Dick Frizzell, Associate Professor and Head of the School of Fine Arts at Massey University, Heather Galbraith, Senior Lecturer in Painting at the University of Canterbury Roger Boyce and Senior Lecturer at the School of Fine Arts at Massey University Simon Morris spent hours trawling through hundreds of entries before deciding on the short-list.

The winning submission was selected and announced by Judge, poet, essayist, art-writer, book-illustrator and artist Gregory O’Brien on Wednesday 6 August 2014 - shortly after the opening of the Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington. It was recieved by Douglas Stitchbury for his Observer (detail), 2014 executed in charcoal on paper. Public observers were also invited to participate in the competition through a vote. The People's Choice Award was given to Dominic McElwee for The Last Supper, 2013/2014 which draws a variety of materials; pencil, charcoal, conte, ink and compressed charcoal.

Douglas Stitchbury, Observer (detail), 2014, charcoal, paper

The nature of drawing has always been the subject of discussion and debate and we are thrilled to get such an enthusiastic response for the second year of this competition. I am looking forward to seeing the diverse range of artworks on show at the gallery and getting the drawing conversation going. Although fundamental to an artist’s practice, drawing is frequently undervalued – even by artists themselves.  The Parkin Drawing Prize aims to address this anomaly, focussing attention upon drawing in all its forms and fostering its spirit of invention, risk and discovery,” said Chris Parkin, owner of Museum Art Hotel.

Works in the award exhibition range in size from the small (25 mm x 35 mm) to the grand (2731 mm x 3519 mm).  Entries have been received from throughout New Zealand from Whangarei to as far south as Dunedin.  Entries have also been received from New Zealand artists residing in France, Australia and Canada.

There were a range of drawings utilising the expected materials such charcoal, graphite and pencil while other artists have chosen mediums such as iphone screens, coins and sequins.

“The quality of entrants has been higher this year with the prize attracting a number of established New Zealand artists.  Selector, Dick Frizzell commented that the submissions were fresh and honest and as a selector he was spoilt for choice.  The selectors have collectively created an exhibition that is challenging while still acknowledging the traditions of the medium.   We are looking forward to seeing the works once they begin to arrive at the gallery.” Natalie Jones, Curator, Academy Galleries

The Parkin Drawing Award 2014 public exhibition showcasing all finalists’ works will run from 26 July to 25 August. The winner of the competition will be officially announced on Wednesday 6 August.

Further information on the award can be found on


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address: 1 Queens Wharf,

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phone: 04 499 8807


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