Annual art scholarship to support sculpture student

Turumeke Harrington with her work [Longer than I can remember], previously shown at Toi Pōneke.

Turumeke Harrington with her work Longer than I can remember, previously shown at Toi Pōneke.

Massey University Master of Fine Arts student, Turumeke Harrington, has been awarded the inaugural Collin Post Memorial Scholarship in recognition of her work in sculpture and installation.

The prestigious award is the first of its kind and aims to support Massey fine arts students who demonstrate exceptional talent in sculpture as well as outstanding passion and potential to succeed in this medium.

The scholarship was established in memory of Collin Post, a strong supporter of arts and culture in Wellington who believed in making the city a better place to live and visit through the development of appropriate and aesthetic public art sculptures.

His son, Charlie Post, says his father also believed strongly in the value of education and the opportunities this brings, and it seemed fitting to create a scholarship in his honour. With the wide range of programmes available and its well-established, international reputation, the College of Creative Arts was an obvious partnership. The scholarship is valued at up to $25,000 per year dependent on the student’s course fees and includes $5000 per semester for study-related living costs and art materials.

“We seek promising students of all ages, backgrounds, genders. We hope it will create an education pathway that will support people to develop their creative practice, and not have to worry about bills for a bit.”

He hopes it will change the landscape for emerging artists like Harrington who can now spend more time focusing on creating her work, and still have precious time spent with her whānau.

Harrington, a Ngāi Tahu artist, is beginning the second year of her Masters and was chosen out of 12 candidates for the scholarship, reflecting the growth of this subject area as well as the calibre of students.

Applicants were asked to submit a portfolio of recent work, and many of Harrington’s examples were drawn from a range of exhibitions she has participated in over last few years.

Shannon Te Ao, her Masters supervisor at Massey, says Harrington’s large colourful installations assembled from accessible materials such as rope, steel and textiles can be “playful at times” and “really generous to an audience.”

“It’s a feast for the eyes and uses things like oranges, yellows, pinks, lights and eye-catching materials as a way to hook a viewer into the deeper narrative that she’s exploring.”

Harrington says her work is often a response to what she is learning about her own whakapapa and Te Ao Māori, while being influenced heavily by her young daughter Pia.

“Work hard, make nonsense and serious fun. I have been making and encouraged to do so all my life, it is one thing I truly enjoy doing, though it can be painful sometimes.”

As she enters into her final year of study she is looking forward to sinking her teeth into a substantial project and having the means to test out some more adventurous materials and processes.

On January 20, a celebratory event was held to congratulate Harrington on her award. Guests included the Post family, Massey Foundation staff, senior College staff, Harrington’s whānau and Post Family Trust members, and external art industry connections including the Wellington Sculpture Trust.

Gabrielle Sturrock, the Development Manager for CoCA for the Massey University Foundation says “The Massey University Foundation is so pleased to be entrusted with Collin Post’s legacy and this life-changing scholarship. This gift is a fantastic contribution to the creative and cultural development of CoCA students.”

In May Harrington will be presenting an exhibition with curator Grace Ryder at Enjoy, Wellington and will also have a solo show at Blue Oyster, Dunedin in June.

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Toi Rauwhārangi
College of Creative Arts
Wellington, Aotearoa