Gallery De Novo
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Kate McKenzie

Kate MacKenzie is a surrealist painter and wearable arts designer.  Following selection in 2018, Mackenzie is once again a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Adam Portraiture Awards in 2020 with her portrait of Dame Suzie Moncrieff, creator of World of Wearable Arts. MacKenzie has also been selected for Hawkes Bay Review and EAST Art Awards, and was the Supreme Winner of the International World of Wearable Arts Competition in 2014, for her multi-cultural inspired garment “Poly Nation”, made entirely of suitcases. She has been awarded runner up and third place in her section in subsequent years including a sustainability award.  Kates Wearable art has been selected for a exhibition at Te Papa Museum Wellington beginning on 12th December 2020.

MacKenzie has a strong interest in the environment and other political issues that have impacted life for New Zealanders particularly, and humanity more broadly. Both her portraits and her landscapes have elements of a montage, bringing together emblems of her thoughts and concerns for the world, including changing paradigms in societal beliefs and mindsets. Her work often illustrates the journey towards environmental awareness with subtle reference to changing technology.

Kates exhibition in 2020  “Mayday for Cicadas” talks about our distractions from our natural surroundings. Kate has used her childhood memories as inspiration for this series. The sound of cicadas is where she finds solace amongst the ever-increasing world of technology and distraction. When Covid 19 entered NZ Kate’s work became more relevant. The need to physically connect with our beautiful beaches and forests during lockdown exposed our reality of being denied this right…or was it our right?   Human fallibility became a beckon as we watched unrest and division from around the world. MacKenzie felt a sense of pride as the majority of New Zealanders sacrificed their own needs for the good of others. Her last two artworks produced for this exhibition focus on “The Human Glitch” and she is keen to explore this subject further.  

Multiculturalism has been a recurring motif in Mackenzie’s work. There is an integration of Maori and Pakeha symbols that she enmeshes together in the narrative of her paintings that represents her own belief in equality, respect and hope for the emergence of lasting tolerance between cultures.

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