Award artist's crowning glory

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 12:16 15/09/2012
JUDGES CHOICE: IHC Art Awards winner Vincent van Schalkwyk  shows off his painting, Life Stories, complete with extra dog.
Fairfax NZ

JUDGES CHOICE: IHC Art Awards winner Vincent van Schalkwyk shows off his painting, Life Stories, complete with extra dog.

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The Queen and her corgi have inspired a Waikato artist who claimed the top prize in this year's IHC Art Awards.

Te Awamutu artist Vincent Van Schalkwyk was the recipient of a $5000 prize at the awards on Thursday in Wellington after his nearly metre-square acrylic painting, Life Stories, impressed judges Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, of WORLD fashion house, Wellington photographer Neil Pardington and Kim Pieters, painter of abstracts from Dunedin.

Mr Van Schalkwyk, 28, said Life Stories was inspired by a photograph he saw in a magazine, and although originally based on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, the subjects of his painting remain nameless.

"My drawing was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, but I changed it to a husband and wife. I chose them because I found the picture in a National Geographic magazine. It was the way they were dressed and sitting down that drew my attention," he said.

The use of colour and confidence in the piece resonated with judge L'Estrange-Corbet, who said she immediately identified it as a winner.

"It is bright and beautiful. We all know who it is, and yet Vincent does not mention her name. It is drawn with such care, her clothes, hair, the pictures in the background, the corgi was especially gorgeous," she said.

Mr Van Schalkwyk has been seriously involved in art since joining Gracelands Group of Services in 2008, but has always enjoyed drawing with pencils.

He said in his artist statement that he enjoys telling peoples stories through his artwork.

"In this painting the people live in their palace and they are old and wealthy. The old lady is beautiful and she likes to wear all kinds of different clothes and jewellery. In this painting the woman is sitting with her husband and they have a pet dog as company. The dog and her and are good friends. I guess it is her dog really."

The IHC Art Awards started in 2004 to showcase the talents of people with intellectual disabilities.

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- Waikato

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