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Unitec students among the winners at Eden Arts Art Schools Award 2020

  • Jimmy Ma’ia’i wins eden art award
  • kim-lu-wins-eden-art-award

Two Unitec students were among the winners at this year’s Eden Arts Art Schools Award announced last night at Webb’s Auction House in Mt Eden.

Bachelor of Creative Enterprise students Jimmy Ma’ia’i and Kim Lu received Highly Commended Awards for their respective works, each receiving $1,000 in prize money. Ma’ia’i’s mixed media entry Samoasonite was inspired by polypropylene bags commonly used by Pacific islanders for air travel, hence the term, Samoan suitcase. Lu’s photographic entry Silent Echo is a “quiet reflection on the enigmas of the world and that which is not yet known”.

This year’s event saw 20 of the best student works from Elam, Unitec, AUT and Whitecliffe in a single exhibition. Also representing Unitec this year were Jacob Hamilton, Blessilda Cabaloza and Chang Lee. 

“Unitec has once again shown its leadership in creativity with a very strong showing in these highly coveted awards,” said Dr. Vanessa Byrnes, Head of the School of Creative Industries at Unitec. “It’s a wonderful outcome for our students who were supported by an excellent team of teaching and technical staff.  To win two of four awards is a significant and humbling achievement.”

The Overall Winner in this year’s show was Brittany Walker Smith from Elam.  Another Highly Commended Award went to Hulita Koloi from Whitecliffe while the Eden Arts’ Board’s Choice Award was won by Jermaine Alhambra from AUT. The list of winners is here.

The judges for this year's event were artist and curator, Peata Larkin; Kaitiaki Whakaaturanga at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Chloe Geoghegan; and freelance writer and curator, Francis McWhannell.

Launched by the Eden Arts Trust in 2011, the award brings together Auckland's major art institutions.  Each school was invited to nominate up to five undergraduate students for the award. For more information please visit