Don Chooi (M.A&D), Department of Media Design lecturer, was recently announced as a finalist for the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award.
Initiated and launched in 2000 by key members of the Waikato Society of arts, the National Contemporary Art Award can be described as "brave, colourful and never shy, an award which takes on an exciting genre - contemporary art".
This year, one of our very own has been nominated as a finalist for the award; Don Chooi. His piece 'Divided Bear Bodies' caught the judges' attention, insofar that it has landed among the final 32 submissions. This is a huge accomplishment in of itself, considering the prestige and history of the award. Furthermore, the finalists were selected from over 300 entries by none other than Reuben Friend, Director of Pātaka Art + Museum.
Don explains his piece.
"This illustrative piece explores the discourse of belonging and masculine identity of the ethnic-minority gay bear within a euro-centric gay bear subculture. Through the aesthetics of Chinese brush-painting and augmented reality, the work serves as a metaphor that seeks to enrich the discourse around sexual and cultural anxieties of the ethnic-minority."
Don has experience in photography, advertising, web and print design, having worked at both Grafikos and Electric Art. He has been with Media Design School for over seven years now, and continues to explore and develop his artistry.
The overall winner of the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award will receive $20,000 from Tompkins Wake and Chow Hill. The Hugo Charitable Trust will sponsor the Hugo Award for the Runner-Up, with the recipient receiving $5,000, and each merit award winner will receive $1,000 sponsored by Friends of Waikato Museum and Random Art Group.
The opening of the exhibition and award presentation will be held from 5.30pm on Friday 3 August, at Waikato Museum. The exhibition of the winner(s) and finalists will then run from Saturday 4 August - Sunday 28 October.