Student awarded dream opportunity

Transforming a blank concrete wall into a vibrant scene was a unique experience for Elam School of Fine Arts student Naawie Tutugoro.

She recently won the Snickel Lane Urban Art Award, which provides the opportunity for a student to create and display a public work of art, while developing essential industry skills.

The $10,000 award was established in 2016 by Argosy Property. It is awarded to Creative Arts and Industries students at the University of Auckland, who are in their final year, or undertaking postgraduate studies.

Naawie’s artwork Level 1, installed at Snickel Lane, explores her interpretation of the word snickel as a “cheeky younger brother” and incorporates vintage and retro elements.

To bring her concept to life she used a combination of clippings from the centenary of the New Zealand Herald and crafted warm, animated characters with a grungy feel.

“There’s a sense with Snickel Lane that it’s almost a 24/7 kind of place, where the corporates come in for coffee in the morning, commuters come in for their snacks and then you’ve got night-time where people come here after work. It seems like every day is different and it’s very social.

“Using different mediums, I wanted that to be uniquely social as well, like the pasting, the drawing, the painting, and the collage. It’s how public spaces used to appear, like the poster culture era. Now we’ve commoditised a lot of public space but this has the chance to be vibrant, a little bit loud and a little bit hectic.”

The project saw Naawie in charge of everything from budgeting to self-promotion. It was also a great chance to network, with members of the public asking her about her art while she was working.

“It’s practical, hands on, and it’s an artist’s dream to be onsite and being amongst it all while things move around you. I found parts of it challenging, but I learnt a lot.

“Being a student in my final year, this is a gateway into the industry, into the real world. It’s great exposure and it’s in a very cool spot. I believe in public spaces and shared spaces, so for me it’s very exciting.”

Argosy Asset Manager Warren Cate says he enjoyed seeing Naawie’s art brighten up Snickel Lane.

“Argosy is delighted with the new 2019 art wall. Naawie has introduced a colourful energy and sense of fun to our commercial space.

“It enhances the laneway experience for everyone.”
Naawie says completing the project has boosted her confidence exponentially.

“There’s always that idea that the real world is so separate from study and it really is. Awards like this ease that process and I feel like I’ve learnt so much.

“I’m sincerely humbled to be supported. To be given space to do something and to make it a reality, it was a really surreal opportunity.”