Bright colours based on bold originals were the recurring themes of winning works in the biennial art competition held in Mangaweka during Labour weekend.
The competition was inspired by art forger Karl Sim, who was born in the Rangitīkei town and was known as an extremely talented lovable rogue.
Winners of the 2023 Fakes and Forgeries art competition were announced at Yellow Church Gallery on State Highway 1 on Saturday, with the top prize going to Palmerston North artist Graham Christensen, whose bright garden-scape painting Glenburn 2 was inspired by the work of New Zealand artist Karl Maughan, who grew up in Manawatū.
Whanganui potter Fiona McLeod won a silver runner-up silver award for her piece Ceramic Tower, inspired by the architecturally unique European towers designed by Austrian visionary Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
And Whanganui mixed media artist Lysha Brennan won a bronze award for her Vincent van Gogh-inspired work Sunflower Diffusion.
The work is a collage and pencil-drawn depiction of a dress with sunflowers embedded in the fabric design, and also features endangered New Zealand plant and animal species.
“There are around 7500 species of flora and fauna that are endangered, and I have incorporated some of those in the design because they are beautiful and part of the fabric of the environment we share,” said Brennan.
“I have been doing a series of dresses inspired by the frocks I remember women wearing during my childhood.”
Brennan said she was also thinking about the theme of the competition and how AI (artificial intelligence) poses a modern threat to artists’ work.
She was a joint winner in the category with Hunterville fibre artist Joanne Gardner, whose Monet-inspired work Inviting Peace was made with crocheted wool and acrylic yarns.
Gallery owner and competition organiser Richard Aslett said it was a delight to see the amount of thought and effort that had gone into the 80-plus entries this year.
“There were some fantastic entries in the adult categories, as well as the 16-years-and-under Fakes and Forgeries categories.
“The under-16 winner is 15-year-old Gracelyn Murray of Feilding for her acrylic painting Leaf in Vase, inspired by the work of Sally Trace.”
The competition now includes a Combined Schools category, and over 200 entries from school children in the region were exhibited in the village hall on Saturday.
The overall winner in the school category was Arthur Matheus for his work The Wheat Feilds.
Since the first Fakes and Forgeries was held in 2007, the event has grown into a town-wide event that includes the Mangaweka Mega Markets, a book fair and garage and car boot sales.
Aslett said Saturday’s event was fantastic, with three live bands entertaining the crowds as they browsed the exhibitions and stalls.
“All around, it was a brilliant day,” he said.
“We had entries from all over New Zealand and two from the UK. The turnout was amazing and the weather was astounding. All that attended seemed to go home with a smile on their faces.
“Karl Sim, if he was watching down, would have been well pleased with all the artistry, fun and merriment”.
Aslett said the Fakes and Forgeries exhibition will run until Sunday, December 3, when there will be a special exhibition closing event from 1pm.
And if anyone fancies a chance to get in practice for the 2025 competition, they can learn how to screen print like Andy Warhol at a workshop to be held at the Yellow Church Gallery on Sunday, November 26.
Liz Wylie is a multimedia journalist for the Whanganui Chronicle. She joined the editorial team in 2014 and regularly covers stories from Whanganui and the wider region. She also writes features and profile stories.