High school art students are being offered the opportunity to hang their works alongside those by Banksy, the British guru of street art.
Organisers say the competition will give young artists motivation, professionalism and public exposure.
The first Oi You! Urban Art Competition was held last year as part of the Nelson Arts Festival, and the response inspired organiser George Shaw to take it nationwide.
There are two sections – one for secondary school students and an open section for everyone else. Entries close on May 16.
"The stunning works we got last year ranged from a Last Supper with Maccas on the table through to Ed Hillary on top of Everest with a snowboard," Shaw said. "Kids completely get the subversive aspect of the subject matter, and their art skills are outstanding."
The elusive Banksy's thought-provoking art will go on show in Nelson this Spring at the Oi You! exhibition, timed to coincide with the arts festival and the Rugby World Cup. Shaw moved to Nelson from Britain in 2009, bringing 23 Banksy works with him. They will make up the core of the exhibition, which will run from September 23 to October 24.
Shaw's enthusiasm for urban art takes him back to his own youth.
"When I saw The Flower Thrower by Banksy, it took me back to when I first heard the Clash singing Guns of Brixton. My wife Shannon and caught the Banksy bug, sold our cars and started buying his originals and limited-edition prints."
The top 20 student works, plus the top 20 from the competition's open section, will be hung on the walls alongside Banksy's art at the Energy Centre.
Information packs are being sent out to schools and universities this week. Registration and entry forms can be found at www.Street Art.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News