Arts Foundation Laureate receiving the My Art Visual Arts Award
Brett Graham is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most accomplished contemporary artists. He has been an artist full time since 2005, exhibiting twice at the Sydney Biennale in 2006 and 2010 and at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Graham’s father, sculptor Fred Graham, and contemporaries such as Selwyn Muru, Paratene Matchitt and Ralph Hotere were early influences on his artistic development.
Graham works from Tāmaki Makaurau, though has been a constant traveller through his career. He has undertaken a range of Residencies throughout Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific), North America, Asia and Europe and his work is included in the collections of National Gallery of Canada, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Honolulu Museum of Art.
As noted by the Laureate selection panel, “His understanding of Māori, indigenous and western art forms, his perspective as tangata Māori, tangata moana and his steadfast commitment to artistic excellence, results in works which in scale and form may be confronting, yet conceptually endowed, meditative and beautiful. We are challenged to reflect on our tangled, contested histories and the complex relationships they encompass, through a lens of respect and decorum, as a pathway to the future.”