New Zealand Body Art Awards Show 2011

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

01/10/2011 - 01/10/2011

Production Details

Each year artists from up and down the country converge on Auckland for a three-hour extravaganza where the crème de la crème are honoured, with such awards up for grabs as SPFX FantasyBest Emerging Artist and the highest accolade, the Supreme Award — the Best Director Oscar of the Body Art Awards. 
At the New Zealand Body Art Awards you will get to see a range of contemporary and indigenous styles of body painting as well as special effects make-up for film and television. Think hunchbacked scaly swamp monsters, esoteric glow in the dark children and ethereal beings taking turns gliding across a continual cat walk and you have just some of the attractions at the NZ Body Art Awards.

The Māori heritage and art theme for 2011 is Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud, chosen because of its colourful, inspiring imagery and culture and to support the REAL New Zealand Festival.  


Auckland Council Supreme Award
Magdalena O’Connor (World of Fluorescent Illusion)

Oyster Entertainment Supreme Performance Awards

Georgia Goater
Youthtown Youth Award
Melina Pruden (Special Effects Creatures)

Cutabove Academy Best Emerging Artist
Sofia Bue Pedersen (Hand Painted Novice)

ASB Community Trust Academy Award
Kate Donaldson (Special Effects Creatures)

Youthtown Hand Painted Novice
Sofia Bue Pedersen

Youthtown Hand Painting Emerging
Ghislaine Gascoine 

Snazaroo Hand Painted Professional
Myrtha Heydenrijk

TopMark SPFX Creatures
Melina Pruden

Weta Workshop SPFX Fantasy
Andrea Hows

Te Puni Kokiri Masquerade
Kelly Zhong-Ni-Ren

Thin Lizzy World of Fluorescent Illusion
Magdalena O’Connor

Weta Workshop Open Category
Nicole Heydenrijk 

Bebe Bourke Audience participation prize
“Maori Girl and the Taniwha” 

2.5 hours

Spectacular body art entertains well

Review by Raewyn Whyte 02nd Oct 2011

The "art" in the NZ Body Art Awards is an extraordinary mix of craft and design, involving makeup, body paint, embedded and attached objects, masks and body pieces, prosthetics and body extensions, all applied to a living human body.  Body art practitioners work mostly in the film, television and advertising industries, and their work is subject to very demanding standards.

The living canvas which is the outcome of this work is seldom available for public display, other than on one special occasion — as the culmination of the annual body art awards where finalists take to the catwalk as the entertainers in a gala showcase.
Artistic directors for the 2011 Body Awards Showcase, Duane and Tutevera Wichman-Evans of Oyster Entertainment, deserve credit for a visually cohesive and run-to-schedule 2011 event based around the competition theme of Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud and presented at the ASB Theatre of the Aotea Centre, having outgrown the Bruce Mason Centre where it has previously been staged.
40 full-throated performers from Te Oranga Kapahaka took to the stage on the dot of 8pm, wearing costumes from the New Zealand movie River Queen, a mix of traditional kapahaka puipui and various items of colonial clothing that certainly signalled the event’s connections with the film industry. Their lead singer rose high above them as if at the peak of a tower, and her singing easily filled the venue.  At the completion of their opening number, the male performers flowed  down from the stage into the audience with patu and taiaha displays, while the women faded into the wings accompanied by haze. Behind them, the on-stage transition to model display was seamlessly achieved.
Glorious photographs of natural New Zealand steadily changed on the back wall of the stage throughout the evening, an awe-inspiring series of backdrops with occasional images of the built environment or historic scenes. This display was also tailored to suit the appearances of guest performers which neatly divided the model displays into 3 classes at a time. Rappers J Geeks and the Geeks wearing makeup by Cut Above’s team, presented their release songs Maori Boy and Icky Sticky love, and five Birds of Paradise from Morag Magnolia Brownlie’s production  roamed the stage in search of love, and the kapahaka artists performed before awards announcements. MC Jo Holley made continuity announcements throughout and assisted with the presentation of awards by sponsors.
The real focus of the show, of course, is what the models are wearing on their skins – the outcome of 8 hours of work on the day, and  for the categories such as Special Effects – Fantasy  and Fluorescent Illusion which  allow and require more than paint, there is the  addition of objects and pre-crafted elements.
To make it possible to see the details of the body art, each model parades onto three thrust stages in front of the judges and VIP tables, with close-up video appearing on large screens either side of the auditorium. If you want to revel in the small details for more than the minute which each model is in focus, you can do that after the show when the models present the designs in  the foyer for this very purpose.

The array of designs is extraordinarily fanciful, covering the models from head to toe. The theme is relatively prescriptive, so of course elements of the New Zealand landscape, flora and fauna, and iconic kiwiana abound. Paint is supplemented by makeup, glitter, ferns and feathers and woven objects, masks, sculptured body parts, prosthetics of many kinds. As we move through the categories, the focus shifts from painted skin alone to the most astoundingly elaborate augmented designs, and the audience becomes increasingly vocal about their favourites in each category.


The models have a challenging job — how to best present the design while standing on a plinth, lying against a huge rock pile, and parading across the stage. It takes a certain attitude and awareness to do this effectively, and it’s easy to pick the dancers and drag queens from those who have hardly ever set foot on a stage in public performance.  You also need to have a certain amount of sympathy for models whose entire skins are covered in competing kiwiana — which aspect do you choose to embody best? Or if you are masquerading as a gnarled pohutukawa covered in branches wreathed in flowers, (designer Kelly Zhong-Ni-Ren) the costume pretty much decrees arms raised and walk with a stately pace.  But for those in the Creatures category, such as this year’s award winners the scaled-up green and yellow Gecko, (designer Melina Pruden)  and the fluorescent orange and yellow Humanoid Weta with barbed leg extensions (winning the Supreme Award for designer Magdalena O’Connor), the requirement is very clear – inhabit the costume as if you are the real creature on which it is modeled. These last two models were clear audience favourites, and were consummate performers. It would be great to be able to give them credit, but there was no printed programme  and no acknowledgement of the models’ names. 

(Names of the Award Winners are available on the production page, click on the title above). 

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