top of page


As we prepared and hosted our annual Waitakere Arts Awards Exhibition and Expo, we featured many of the artists participating in this event. During this time it was great to see the variety of artists that forms part of our community of artists here at Waitakere Arts. The range of skills, styles and mediums were on full display at our Expo, and as always it was such an honour and privilege to be part of so many talented people's journeys in discovering their talents and the artist within. I wanted to take the time to recognize the winners in the various categories, as well as once again showcase those artists who were featured during this time.

First up - Smita Upadhye. Winner of the ART category. This category encompasses all 2D works, excluding photography. Smita is a lifelong artist, envisioning adding beauty to the world around her with her art. She is skilled in many forms of art and adapts her style to the needs of the project or client she is working with. Smita has been a teacher for over forty years, first as a lecturer at India’s renowned Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai, and for then as an independent art tutor, continuing this after moving to New Zealand over 20 years ago.

Smita's artwork "Just You 'N Me" won first prize at this years event, with the judges commenting on her imaginative composition with good control over the medium used.

Just You 'N Me

The winner in the PHOTOGRAPHY category was Pasifika artist and photographer, Ioana Schwalger with her dramatic portrayal of "Mark". Ioana's passion for portraiture helps bring to life the essence of the person, expressing through both paint and photography, the portrait’s strength and beauty. Ioana’s inspiration and influences are often attributed to her Christian faith and Samoan heritage. Ioana’s style of art is vibrant and rich in colour. She studied a BFA at Elam, Auckland University, majoring in Photography and was a secondary school art and photography teacher for over 15 years. The judges were impressed by the pose and presentation of her portrait, commending her on her lighting with sharp detail and good use of colour.


Next up, in our CERAMICS category, we had Karen Kennedy, with her work "A Man and Dogs". The judges enjoyed her good sense of humour, along with her skilled use of media and colour and intimate scale.

Karen has always loved being creative in all forms, but particularly enjoys working with clay since digging some up in the Glendowie Creek as a kid. Karen is mostly self-taught and she started making small ceramic sculptures after the birth of her first child. Nowadays she uses fine white clay, fired and painted with underglazes, then mid fired and clear glazed. Karen loves to make birds, chookies, cats, dogs, pigs, clowns, orchids and figurines from fairy tales. Her work is often humorous and she is avid collector of cartoons. She has received over 30 awards for her work through the years and when she is not potting, she loves the beach and walking the family dogs.

A Man and dogs

In our SCULPTURE category, Sheree Foster took 1st place with her work "Chequered History". With this work the judges enjoyed her skilful construction of an indigenous component, combining it with man-made materials to create a sculpture very pleasing to the eye.

Sheree had been our first Featured Artist of the month, and you can read all about her in our post about her over here.

Chequered History

We also awarded a few merit awards, with our first Merit award given out in our Sculpture/Ceramics/Assemblage category. The award went to Sue Butler, for her work, "When I first met Rita"

When I first met Rita

Our next Merit Award, for Painting/Photography went to Val Enger, for her work "Across the Sands"

Across the Sands

In the Hetty Boere Nature Themed Award, Suzanne Greenshields walked away with the prize for her work "Bee-hold the green goddess".

Bee-hold the green goddess

The Bill Laing Memorial Award went to Victoria Karaman for her work "Distortion"


And the Corban Estate Art Award was awarded to Susan Brogan, for "Through the looking glass II"

Through the Looking Glass II

We are once again so honored to be able to support and encourage our members to exhibit and keep on creating. In just a few months time we will be hosting the Trust Art Exhibition, and we look forward to seeing many of our members, and other artists participate in this event! So keep an eye out for more information about this exciting event.


bottom of page