The $50,000 Walters Prize is awarded for an outstanding work of contemporary New Zealand art produced and exhibited during the past two years. Previous winners were Yvonne Todd for Asthma and Eczema (2002), et al. for restricted access (2004), Francis Upritchard for Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed (2006) and Peter Robinson for ACK (2008).
Named in honour of the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the prize was established in 2002 by founding benefactors and principal donors Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs, working together with the Auckland Art Gallery
to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of our cultural life.
Finalists for the Walters Prize 2010
Dan Arps: Explaining Things shown at Gambia Castle, Auckland (7-24 December 2008)
Fiona Connor: Something Transparent (please go round the back) shown at Michael Lett, Auckland (15 April 16 May 2009)
Saskia Leek: Yellow is the Putty of the World shown at Ivan Anthony, Auckland (25 November 23 December 2009)
Alex Monteith: Passing Manoeuvre with two motorcycles and 584 vehicles for two-channel video shown at ST PAUL St, AUT University, Auckland (19 June 7 July 2008)
The four finalists will each receive $5,000, thanks to major donor Dayle Mace.
In their initial deliberations, the Walters Prize 2010 jury nominated the project Persepolis 2530, by Michael Stevenson, for inclusion in the Prize.* Although the nomination itself stands, the Auckland Art Gallery regrets that due to accommodation and budgetary constraints it was not possible to realise Persepolis 2530 as part of the Walters Prize 2010.
* Michael Stevenson: Persepolis 2530 shown at Arnolfini, Bristol (2 February - 25 March 2008)
Auckland Art Gallery Director Chris Saines says The Walters Prize jury has again drawn out a strong and conceptually diverse group of works for inclusion in this years Prize exhibition. Seen together, the finalist projects offer a lively and engaged register of the current state of play within New Zealand contemporary art.
I want to congratulate warmly Dan Arps, Fiona Connor, Saskia Leek and Alex Monteith on achieving their thoroughly deserved place among this years finalists. At the same moment, I want to acknowledge as well the Gallerys inability to stage Michael Stevensons ambitious Persepolis 2530, a project included in the first round of jury nominations.
In that context, it is important to recognise that the award of the Walters Prize is made by a visiting judge with the sole task of selecting one work from the four Prize exhibition finalists. As a result, while Persepolis 2530 remains a jury nominee, the judge is unable to consider the project for the 2010 award.
This year marks a decade since we inaugurated the biennial Walters Prize. The Prize continues to go from strength to strength, as the high quality of this years finalists proves once again. It is encouraging to see too that, taken together, they are the youngest in the Prizes history
Jon Bywater - Programme Leader, Critical Studies at Elam School of Fine Art, The University of Auckland.
Rhana Devenport - Director, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
Leonhard Emmerling - Visual Arts Adviser, Goethe Institute, Munich, Germany, former Director, ST PAUL St, AUT University
Kate Montgomery Director, Physics Room, Christchurch