Grahame Sydney, Dunedin, ONZM, services to painting

Otago Daily Times.  A career as an artist stretching almost 30 years had only been possible because people had the courage to support his endeavours, Grahame Sydney (55) said yesterday. “If nothing else, what it really shows when people like me get an award like this, is that New Zealand arts patronage has the courage to back its own.”

Without that support, the nation’s culture, in its myriad forms, could not survive. There was also some satisfaction because it showed being a staunch regionalist had not been too great a limitation after all, Sydney said. He has become synonymous with his realist interpretations of the Southern landscape since first exhibiting in the Moray Gallery in 1972.

Since then, his paintings in oil, watercolour and egg tempera have exhibited to acclaim throughout New Zealand and in Australia. He is also a printmaker and works in pencil on paper and with charcoal. His works are held in the collections of New Zealand’s major galleries, including Te Papa’s national collection.

In 1978, he was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago. More recently, his book, The Art of Grahame Sydney, took a hat trick of prizes at the Montana Book Awards in 2000, picking up the readers’ choice award, the non-fiction medal and illustrative arts prize.