Eighteen talented sculptors, including three from Iran, have been chosen to take part in the 2018 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium in November.

Picked from more than 25 entries, the finalists will spend 10 days carving and sculpting pieces relating to this year's symposium theme Ngā Wai o Rotorua – The Waters of Rotorua.

The biennial event has previously attracted sculptors from around the world and this year is no different. While the majority of carvers are from New Zealand, this year's finalists also include Thomas Luescher from Switzerland and Iranian artists Maryam Sharifi Shoorijeh, Seyyad Hosseini, and Amin Balaghi.

Claire Sadler carving Interconnection during the 2016 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium. Photo/Supplied
Claire Sadler carving Interconnection during the 2016 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium. Photo/Supplied

Symposium organiser and Rotorua Lakes Council public art adviser Marc Spijkerbosch has run the event since its inception in 2014 and thinks it gets better each year.

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"I'm constantly impressed with the depth and breadth of talent that applies to participate in our event. The Rotorua Sculpture Symposium has earned a solid reputation within local and national sculpting circles so it's a real coup to have such a strong international presence in 2018.

"The symposium is a forum for sculptors to share ideas and techniques. It's fascinating to watch these works of art evolve from a variety of raw and rugged materials. Once again, the sculpture symposium promises to be an event not to be missed," Spijkerbosch said.

The sculptors choose the material they carve with from Oamaru stone, Taranaki andesite, or macrocarpa, with some combining several of the materials into their final design.

The symposium opens on November 16 and carvers work through the weekend and following week to complete their sculptures.

On November 25 tools are laid down and judging begins for the supreme award winner who receives $10,000.

Phil Bonham carving Tihei Mauriora during the 2016 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium. Photo/Supplied
Phil Bonham carving Tihei Mauriora during the 2016 Rotorua Sculpture Symposium. Photo/Supplied

The winning piece becomes a permanent part of Rotorua's public art collection.

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The remaining artworks will be placed in the Sulphur Lake Sculpture Trail for people to enjoy for years to come.

2018 Sulphur Lake Sculpture Symposium finalists:
Trevor Nathan - Rotorua
Jamie Pickernell -Rotorua
Thomas Luescher - Switzerland
Maryam Sharifi Shoorijeh - Iran
Anna Korver - Taranaki
Jocelyn Pratt - Thames
Andrew Deadman - Auckland
Simone Jacquat - Wanganui
Oriah Rapley - Taranaki
Rory McDougall - Hokitika
Steve Molloy - Taranaki
Seyyad Hosseini - Iran
Amin Balaghi - Iran
Iwi Le Comte - Rotorua
Peter Akurangi - Rotorua
Natanahira Te Pona -Auckland
Bodhi John Vincent -Kapiti Coast
Claire Sadler - Hastings