1 Feb 2012
Nelson painter Nick Haig has won the annual Jens Hansen Award of Excellence in Visual Arts and Design at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.
Nelson painter Nick Haig has won the annual Jens Hansen Award of Excellence in Visual Arts and Design at NMIT.
The Bachelor of Arts and Media graduate says it was “a big surprise and an honour” to win the Jens Hansen Award, which is presented to the highest academic achiever in the Visual Arts and Design major of NMIT’s Arts and Media programme.
“I’d always wanted to study art but thought it would be perhaps too indulgent,” Mr Haig says. “Finally, I realised I had to give it a go. NMIT’s arts and media programme is inspiring, engaging and challenging – it’s exactly what an arts and media programme should be.”
NMIT Creative Industries Programme Area Leader David James says Mr Haig is one of those who not only paints well, but also makes people think.
“Nick is a highly reflective, thoughtful artist. He tries to get his audience thinking - putting them in a position to think differently about life, humanity and themselves and to challenge people, not just engage with them on a superficial level.
“His work demands you think and reflect rather than just say 'well, that’s a pretty picture' – which is what good contemporary art does.”
After a successful first step, Nick is now planning for the next phase of his journey as an artist.
“Thanks to the skills I’ve learned at NMIT I now feel able to embark on a path of art making and creating, which I don’t think I could have done beforehand.”
Mr James says NMIT has a reputation for producing creative and highly talented students.
“The philosophy of our Arts and Media programme is to encourage not only creative thinking, but also the ability to understand your work through critique and reflection - to ensure you’re communicating successfully with your audience,” Mr James says.
“It’s easy to continuously paint and churn out artworks - we want our graduates to be aware of their work and how it’s interpreted within a contemporary context.”
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith owner Halfdan Hansen says he is privileged to be able to support the region’s emerging artists through the award, which includes a cash prize of $500.
“It is always good to recognise performance and merit, and it makes sense to acknowledge your top performers and reward people for being the best. And of course, it’s a good opportunity to support fledgling artists.”