The overall winner will receive $20,000 from co-sponsors Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill Architects. The Hugo Charitable Trust Award of $5000 will go to the runner-up, while two merit award winners will receive $1000 each, supported by Random Art Group and Friends of Waikato Museum.
Entries for the 2021 Award opened on Thursday 18 March and closed at 1pm on Wednesday 2 June. The finalists’ works will be exhibited at Waikato Museum from 28 August until 28 November.
The 2021 National Contemporary Art Award winners will be announced on 27 August at the gala opening of the exhibition. The $250 Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award winner will be decided by public vote.
The Dowse Art Museum Director Karl Chitham (Ngaa Puhi, Te Uriroroi) will select this year’s finalists and prize winners. He is an experienced judge, with recent credits including the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the selection panel for the New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Well-known in art circles around New Zealand, Chitham has held curatorial roles at Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa and Objectspace.
The National Contemporary Art Award was launched in 2000 by the Waikato Society of Arts and has been managed by Waikato Museum since 2006.