There was a full house for the 2024 Taranaki Foundation Emergence Art Awards on Friday night at the Percy Thomson Gallery in Stratford. This biennial event is proudly supported by the Taranaki Foundation through the Taranaki Hauora Fund.

Dr. Elliot Collins, tutor at WITT and one of the judges for the Awards, was deeply impressed by the submissions, stating, “Their work truly impressed me.”

With 130 entries across 22 award categories, judges, Elliot Collins, Dwayne Duthie and Jennifer Halli faced the challenging task of selecting winners. “The calibre of work was exceptionally high,” Dr. Collins remarked. “It took five hours to decide, which speaks to the strength and talent showcased this year.”

Laura Campbell, Director, Percy Thomson Gallery and judge and artist Elliot Collins – Elliot created “Emerging is Simply Joy and Fear All Mixed Together” – as the trophy for the Emergence Winner.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of Rujula Chitnis as the Supreme Winner for her printmaking piece titled “Dancers.” Aged 17 and a student at New Plymouth Girls High, Rujula’s artwork intricately weaves together classical Indian dance forms like Bharatnatyam with contemporary reflections.

Rujula said, “In Bharatnatyam, each movement tells a story. I aimed to capture the beauty of the dance and reflect on India’s evolving cultural landscape.”

While at Auckland Airport en route to India, Rujula received news of her win.  She expressed her gratitude, saying, “It’s an incredible honour. I’m thankful to the Percy Thomson Gallery and the Taranaki Foundation for this opportunity.”

Rujula Chitnis received a $2,000 cash prize and an invitation to hold a solo exhibition at the Percy Thomson Gallery.

Winning work by Rujula Chitnis (17) ‘Dancers’. Medium: Printmaking.

At the awards evening, Laura Campbell, Director of the Percy Thomson Gallery, pointed out that The Emergence exhibition is a highlight in their exhibition calendar and stressed the importance of nurturing young artistic talent. She thanked the artists for their bravery in showcasing their creativity and putting their works on display. “We love seeing your works at the gallery and we will treasure having them here for the next three weeks. Congratulations to all participants for sharing their beautiful artworks with our community.”

Josh Hickford, Chief Executive Taranaki Foundation, expressed his pride in the growth of the event and in the wide range of work on display. ” I encourage our up-and-coming creatives to continue pushing boundaries and exploring their talent.”

The exhibition featuring the artworks will run until July 21, welcoming visitors to view and vote for the popular People’s Choice Award, which will be announced at the exhibition’s conclusion.

The evening also celebrated the Emergence Supreme Winner of 2022, Brett Morrison, creating her first solo exhibition at Percy Thomson Gallery. The exhibition is entitled ‘All Four Corners’ and captures a personal photographic journey through South America in 2022/23.

  • Read the Taranaki Daily news article announcing the winners – here