Home > News > Archive > 31st March 2005

Caroline’s art riding tide

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Caroline Oakes

By Grant Johnston

Caroline Oakes of Rukuhia is one of 30 finalists from around New Zealand selected for the IHC Telecom Art Awards exhibition at The Dowse in Lower Hutt from April 9 to July 10.

The finalists were selected from over 400 artworks submitted by artists with intellectual disabilities throughout New Zealand.

Caroline has been painting for seven years and says it provides her with a lot of enjoyment and it is both rewarding and challenging.

Her work in the final, titled ‘Incoming Tide’, was a variation on a tidal scene she has painted previously - this time done with acrylics and a palette knife.

The effect is stunning. Regional judge, Mary Kisler, Mackelvie Curator of International Art at the Auckland Art Gallery, said Caroline’s style was particularly assured, capturing the mood of the sea and confidently showing the movement of waves.

Caroline’s tutor, Jan Lawson of Visualz Community Living Trust Art Studio in Hamilton, says after a break for a couple of years, Caroline is back into her art with a vengeance.

“She does papier mache as well, but seems to really love her painting. She gets stuck in. She is supported by staff to learn new art skills (at lessons she attends each Tuesday) and she has improved a lot and is still improving.”

George Hill, the second placegetter in the inaugural awards in 2004 for his work ‘Bottom Teeth’, is a finalist again with a new piece entitled Note No.6.

Mary Kisler said she was particularly impressed by the range of the artwork submitted. “None of the finalists’ pieces are similar and they are all beautifully presented. From the subjects and images depicted you could really sense they were by the hand of the artist and the artworks, therefore, provide a fascinating perspective on the artists’ lives,” she says.

The IHC Telecom Art Awards exhibition at The Dowse starting next month is believed to be the first national exhibition of artwork by artists’ with intellectual disabilities. The overall winners of the Awards will be announced at a National Awards function and auction at The Dowse on May 11.

The finalists’ work can also be viewed online at www.ihc.org.nz from April 1, with details on how to bid for individual artworks.