Achievement award for Gisborne artist

‘Spectacular’ art at marae wins judges’ accolade.

‘Spectacular’ art at marae wins judges’ accolade.

HUMBLED: Gisborne artist David Cameron said he was "privileged and humbled" to be given an Acess Art Award last night presented to him by senior Maori artist Darcy Nicholas. Picture by Neil Mackenzie

A GISBORNE artist who spent 12 years decorating the whare Te Poho o Hiraina near Gisborne has been presented with an Arts Access Award.

David Cameron was awarded the Artistic Achievement Award 2016 for his outstanding achievements and contribution to traditional and contemporary Maori arts.

Paraplegic and a wheelchair user since 1977, Mr Cameron is a recognised leather worker, painter, ceramicist and tutor in his preferred artform, uku (Maori clay ceramics).

Mr Cameron was surprised by the award.

“I feel quite privileged and humbled by receiving the award, as much as I’m surprised.”

It was his first trip to Parliament. He hoped it would be awe-inspiring.

“That should be an experience.”

He thanked his nominator, Ralph Walker.

“Thanks for his wisdom — I respect his wisdom and knowledge.”

“I met him through the arts fraternity over 12 years ago. He’s known in the kaihanga uku Maori clay artists collective.”

Went into rehab after a fall

Cameron had done art at high school but got back into it in 1988 through rehab. A fall from a balcony when he was 19 left him paralysed.

“Rehab was a catalyst for me going back into adult learning and pursuing further learning at Toihukura.”

To future artists and people with disabilities, he says follow your passion.

“In following your passion you overcome your barriers. There’s nothing stopping you in enrolling in institutes like Toi, except the student loan maybe.”

When he left school, he was more focused on working and earning money than being an artist.

“But art was always with me since I was young and it manifested itself after I became paralysed.”

Guided in uku by ceramic artists Baye Riddell, Wi Taepa, and the late Manos Nathan and Colleen Waata-Urlich, David is acknowledged nationally as a senior ceramic artist and a mentor for emerging ceramicists.

He is also a member of Nga Kaihanga Uku (Maori Clay Artists Collective), a network engaging with indigenous artists in the Pacific Rim and globally.

“I love the immediacy of uku — taking a lump of clay and modeling it into a living, beautiful form. I also enjoy the challenges and delights of this malleable material, which sometimes has a mind of its own.”

In 1995, David Cameron was asked to paint the kowhaiwhai in the newly-constructed wharenui (whare-tipuna) Te Poho o Hiraina at Pakowhai Marae, Waituhi.

Initially apprehensive

Initially he felt apprehensive about taking on the role — mainly because he thought he did not whakapapa to the whare and marae.

“But once I learned my whakapapa (genealogy) and started painting the house, I saw it was appropriate and natural for me to do so,” he says.

From September 1997 and over the next 12 years, David worked on this assignment.

Studying from 2004 to 2007 at Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Toihoukura arts school, he did not mention it to any of his tutors or fellow students until the wharenui was completed.

The result was “spectacular”, as Maori King Tuheitia Paki said at the opening ceremony in 2009.

The judges of the Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award 2016 said that the decoration of the wharenui Te Poho o Hiraina has brought huge mana to David Cameron and his community.

“His commitment, passion, achievements and contribution to mahi toi shine like a beacon across Aotearoa New Zealand.”

In 2007, David completed a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design. He was top student, receiving the Ruanuku Museum Acquisition Award. He went on to study for a Bachelor of Visual Arts—Te Toi o Nga Rangi at Toihoukura (School of Maori Visual Art and Design), majoring in clay. He completed his degree in 2010.

David says his study exposed him to the arts community and nurtured his contemporary artistic expression. It was here that he worked under the guidance of Baye Riddell, a pioneer in the development of the contemporary Maori art of uku.

“Until I met Baye in 2004, I saw myself as a painter. I remember being amazed at the speed with which he was able to create the form of a pot,” he says.

“At Toihoukura, I worked with established contemporary artists such as Derek Lardelli, Steve Gibbs, Fred Graham and Tina Wirehana. It really opened my eyes to contemporary Maori art.”

Baye Riddell says David Cameron is an inspiration to many people.

“I’ve never once heard him complain despite the many physical challenges he has faced over the years. Instead, he continues to challenge himself to further his arts disciplines and pass on his skills to others.”

The Arts Access Awards 2016 were hosted by Hon Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, in the Banquet Hall of Parliament last night.

The annual awards are the key awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members. They also recognise the achievements of an artist with a disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.

Arts Access Aotearoa receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and has a contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on its arts activities and programmes.

A GISBORNE artist who spent 12 years decorating the whare Te Poho o Hiraina near Gisborne has been presented with an Arts Access Award.

David Cameron was awarded the Artistic Achievement Award 2016 for his outstanding achievements and contribution to traditional and contemporary Maori arts.

Paraplegic and a wheelchair user since 1977, Mr Cameron is a recognised leather worker, painter, ceramicist and tutor in his preferred artform, uku (Maori clay ceramics).

Mr Cameron was surprised by the award.

“I feel quite privileged and humbled by receiving the award, as much as I’m surprised.”

It was his first trip to Parliament. He hoped it would be awe-inspiring.

“That should be an experience.”

He thanked his nominator, Ralph Walker.

“Thanks for his wisdom — I respect his wisdom and knowledge.”

“I met him through the arts fraternity over 12 years ago. He’s known in the kaihanga uku Maori clay artists collective.”

Went into rehab after a fall

Cameron had done art at high school but got back into it in 1988 through rehab. A fall from a balcony when he was 19 left him paralysed.

“Rehab was a catalyst for me going back into adult learning and pursuing further learning at Toihukura.”

To future artists and people with disabilities, he says follow your passion.

“In following your passion you overcome your barriers. There’s nothing stopping you in enrolling in institutes like Toi, except the student loan maybe.”

When he left school, he was more focused on working and earning money than being an artist.

“But art was always with me since I was young and it manifested itself after I became paralysed.”

Guided in uku by ceramic artists Baye Riddell, Wi Taepa, and the late Manos Nathan and Colleen Waata-Urlich, David is acknowledged nationally as a senior ceramic artist and a mentor for emerging ceramicists.

He is also a member of Nga Kaihanga Uku (Maori Clay Artists Collective), a network engaging with indigenous artists in the Pacific Rim and globally.

“I love the immediacy of uku — taking a lump of clay and modeling it into a living, beautiful form. I also enjoy the challenges and delights of this malleable material, which sometimes has a mind of its own.”

In 1995, David Cameron was asked to paint the kowhaiwhai in the newly-constructed wharenui (whare-tipuna) Te Poho o Hiraina at Pakowhai Marae, Waituhi.

Initially apprehensive

Initially he felt apprehensive about taking on the role — mainly because he thought he did not whakapapa to the whare and marae.

“But once I learned my whakapapa (genealogy) and started painting the house, I saw it was appropriate and natural for me to do so,” he says.

From September 1997 and over the next 12 years, David worked on this assignment.

Studying from 2004 to 2007 at Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Toihoukura arts school, he did not mention it to any of his tutors or fellow students until the wharenui was completed.

The result was “spectacular”, as Maori King Tuheitia Paki said at the opening ceremony in 2009.

The judges of the Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award 2016 said that the decoration of the wharenui Te Poho o Hiraina has brought huge mana to David Cameron and his community.

“His commitment, passion, achievements and contribution to mahi toi shine like a beacon across Aotearoa New Zealand.”

In 2007, David completed a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design. He was top student, receiving the Ruanuku Museum Acquisition Award. He went on to study for a Bachelor of Visual Arts—Te Toi o Nga Rangi at Toihoukura (School of Maori Visual Art and Design), majoring in clay. He completed his degree in 2010.

David says his study exposed him to the arts community and nurtured his contemporary artistic expression. It was here that he worked under the guidance of Baye Riddell, a pioneer in the development of the contemporary Maori art of uku.

“Until I met Baye in 2004, I saw myself as a painter. I remember being amazed at the speed with which he was able to create the form of a pot,” he says.

“At Toihoukura, I worked with established contemporary artists such as Derek Lardelli, Steve Gibbs, Fred Graham and Tina Wirehana. It really opened my eyes to contemporary Maori art.”

Baye Riddell says David Cameron is an inspiration to many people.

“I’ve never once heard him complain despite the many physical challenges he has faced over the years. Instead, he continues to challenge himself to further his arts disciplines and pass on his skills to others.”

The Arts Access Awards 2016 were hosted by Hon Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, in the Banquet Hall of Parliament last night.

The annual awards are the key awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members. They also recognise the achievements of an artist with a disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.

Arts Access Aotearoa receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and has a contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on its arts activities and programmes.

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