Kate MacKenzie is a surrealist painter and award-winning wearable arts designer.
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.
Kate’s exhibition in 2020 “Mayday for Cicadas” talked about our distractions from our natural surroundings. Kate 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.
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.
MacKenzie has been a two-time finalist in the New Zealand Adam Portraiture Award. She also came 2nd place in the Avante Garde, and runner up in the sustainability catagory of the 2018 World of Wearable Arts and in 2022 she was the Supreme Winner of World of Wearable Arts.