Otago Polytechnic
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Kushana is recognised as a significant artist. She’s unassuming and extremely focussed. We are proud to own her as a graduate

Kushana Bush
Bachelor of Visual Arts

Kushana Bush is a 2017 Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.

Kushana graduated from the Dunedin School of art in 2004 and was promptly appointed as a lecturer. She left to focus on painting and in 2009, she worked in South Korea at the National Art Studio, Changdong, Seoul. That same year, she won the Art and Australia contemporary Art award and featured in Art and Australia emerging artist awards. Two years later, she won the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship – one of the youngest to receive that accolade.

In 2013, Kushana was awarded the Arts Foundation New Zealand New Generation Award. In 2014, Kushana exhibited at the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Her exhibition ‘The Burning Hours’, was shown at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery 2016/2017, and will be presented in 2017 at the Christchurch Art Gallery between June and October. She will be exhibiting in the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2017-2018 Triennial in Melbourne.

Kushana’s work is held in collections throughout New Zealand, The Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Kushana’s paintings are delicately constructed and complex. She makes explicit reference to early painting styles, like medieval miniatures. Her works reflect the relations between cultures, histories of war and patterns of human behaviour.

Dunedin School of Art Lecturer in Painting, Michael Greaves, says Kushana embodies the best of Otago Polytechnic’s graduates.

“She is continually reflective, motivated and focused, her career is one that exhibits the best qualities of our many prestigious art alumni” he says.

Otago Polytechnic Emeritus Member, Bridie Lonie, says Kushana is a truly successful graduate of the Dunedin School of Art.

“She is recognised as a significant artist, and has been from a surprisingly young age. She’s unassuming and extremely focussed. We are proud to own her as a graduate”.

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Kathryn actively extends her own education, delivering papers at international conferences, engaging with the wider and dynamic global aspect of thought and practice

Kathryn McCully
Master of Fine Arts

Kathryn McCully is a 2017 Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.

Kathryn graduated with her Master of Fine Arts from the Dunedin School of Art in 2005.  Even while studying, she envisaged her own studio work as part of the wider arts community and she established the Introspect Community Art Space – a lively platform for many local artists.

Kathryn went on to manage the Ashburton Public Art Gallery, and lobbied hard for a new, re-located venue.  While in that role, she brought innovative national and international exhibitions to the public, drawing great success and support.

Kathryn is currently the Programme Manager for the Visual Arts Programmes at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT). 

Kathryn actively extends her own education, delivering papers at international conferences, engaging with the wider and dynamic global aspect of thought and practice.  This international experience is two-way, allowing her to bring vision and ideas back to SIT and the community.

Kathryn has a long list of accolades to her name.  These include:

  • 2001-2003 Development/management Committee Satellite Gallery, Dunedin
  • 2002-2005 Established and directed Introspect Gallery, Dunedin
  • 2013-2016 Board Member Southland Art Society, Invercargill
  • 2013-current Chairperson Southern Filmmakers Trust.
  • Advisor for the Murihiku Arts Incubator
  • 2015 Winner ILT Art Award

Hope Wilson, Curatorial Assistant at Christchurch’s The Physics Room Contemporary Art Space, says Kathryn has made a real difference to the art community in Southland.

“Kathryn’s ongoing level of commitment to on-the-ground initiatives and her successes in her many roles as a mentor, teacher, volunteer, writer and activist have made a contribution to Invercargill and Southland’s art scene that cannot be underscored enough”.

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ART Profile AliciaHall 002
I just grew more and more happy because I started to discover who I was and also my life's purpose

Alicia Hall
Master of Visual Arts

Alicia Hall’s enthusiasm is contagious as she explains her journey at Otago Polytechnic. 

“During my time at Dunedin School of Art I went thought a total transformation.  I arrived as a size 18, and now I’m only a size 12.  I just grew more and more happy because I started to discover who I was and also my life's purpose.”

The 51 year-old used to be a bookkeeper and an administrator.  She’s always been a ‘maker’, but didn’t think she had the skills needed for Art School.

“I was surprised I got in on the strength of my textile art.  I thought I’d have to be able to draw well – but that wasn’t the case.  Now I’ve come so far, and I have Art School and Jenny Rudd at Social Services to thank for that”.

Alicia’s full of praise for her lecturers.

“The support and guidance you receive is incredible.  If you’re willing to work, they’ll help you every step of the way.  They see your potential, and they push you to achieve it.”

In her second year, through her individualised project on the digestive system, Alicia decided to change her life style. This, and experiencing the transformative power of making, lead to her interest in women’s health and well-being.

“What happened to me at Art School is pretty amazing.  I want to share that with other women.”

For her Master of Visual Art Degree, Alicia has researched the health benefits that occur while making and creating within a community.  Her work was acknowledged when she was awarded with the 2017 Otago Polytechnic Art and Community Connections Scholarship - $1500 towards her post graduate study.

‘I’m really buzzed.  I’m grateful for the scholarship money and it is recognition of the work that I’m doing.”

Alicia now plans to volunteer in High Schools around Dunedin.  She’s a Christian, and it’s important to her to help people by sharing her artistic techniques and life lessons.

“This coming term I’m teaching textile art skills to a small group of girls at Otago Girls’ High School during their Club Period.  As we create we’ll discuss a variety of subjects, from nutrition to stress to life-goals.”

“Community art is so important.  When people become involved in a creative network, benefits can add value on a totally different level."

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ART profile YongWeiLim 001
Student Services are very kind and gave huge consideration to my problems. As time passed, I got used to the New Zealand accent and the way English is used here.

Yong Wei Lim
Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours)

Yong Wei Lim loves studying at Otago Polytechnic.

“The community is very close, and you get to know people better.  I like smaller institutions.”

When Yong Wei decided to further her studies in Art, she chose to leave her home country of Malaysia for New Zealand.  “It’s a very good place, surrounded by nature”. 

On a colleague’s recommendation, Yong Wei’s father investigated Otago Polytechnic.  “He asked serious questions like is the qualification recognised in Malaysia or by the New Zealand Government.”

Initially, Yong Wei found New Zealand English difficult to understand, but Student Services were very helpful.  “They are very kind and gave huge consideration to my problems.  As time passed, I got used to the New Zealand accent and the way English is used here.”

Yong Wei has thoroughly enjoyed extending herself at Otago Polytechnic and has graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), majoring in painting.  “I had never written long essays regarding my artworks before.  This process has really taught me new ways to look at my creations.”

Yong Wei loves it so much she’s decided to return for her Master of Visual Arts.  “After that, I plan to go back to Malaysia to work as an art teacher, and artist.”

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ART profile SusanVideler 012
The Dunedin School of Art has fantastic facilities for jewellery making, so I knew I had to come back to study here

Susan Videler
Master of Fine Arts

“All jewellery has ancient origins.  We still use techniques in making, that were used hundreds of years ago.  That’s one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much.”

Susan Videler majored in painting for her Bachelor of Fine Arts*, but she now concentrates on jewellery.

“I’m influenced by the material I work with.  Initially working with gemstones and metal, I’m now exploring raw-hide, antler, glass and wood” she says.

It’s no surprise then, that her master’s dissertation is The Wound – protection afforded by the Talisman. 

Susan started studying at the Dunedin School of Art in 2008.  In the first year, she studied all six disciplines, and then focussed her studies as her degree progressed.  “It was great, because I could see where my strengths lay.”

She chose painting, and took out the Painting Prize and the Lindsay Crookes Memorial Life Drawing Prize in her graduating year.  However, the lure of creating jewellery was strong, so she signed up for her master’s degree with Otago Polytechnic.

“The Dunedin School of Art has fantastic facilities for jewellery making, so I knew I wanted to come back to study here.  The tutors are highly skilled and they foster a creative, supportive atmosphere.  It is a really special department” she says.  She even teaches there herself – holding Monday night classes for Introduction to Jewellery.

Susan is yet to market her jewellery - all of her current creations have to be kept for the examiners.  But she already has an interested buyer in Auckland, and a studio space organised in Dunedin to start creating and making a living out of the art form she loves.

*Bachelor of Fine Arts is now the Bachelor of Visual Arts.

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Fiona Van Oyden IMAGE
“Being a distance learner at OP has been a very affirming experience – I know I can be self-directed and motivated.”

Fiona Van Oyen
Master of Fine Arts

Fiona Van Oyen has thoroughly enjoyed her journey as a distance learner at Otago Polytechnic. “The inclusiveness and flexibility in and around my learning have been great,” she says. “I’ve also loved feeling part of a creative community again.”

Fiona enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts at the Dunedin School of Art after a significant time lapse between completing her Fine Arts degree at Canterbury back in the early 1980s. Initially, she had wanted to study away from Christchurch and this was reaffirmed when she met two Otago Polytechnic lecturers – Mark Bolland and Peter Cleverley – on a visit to Cashmere High School.

“I listened in to their talk to senior Arts students and realised what a rich range of courses the Dunedin School of Art offers,” Fiona explains. “I was also attracted to Otago Polytechnic because it has such a vibrant and inclusive energy.”

Even though Fiona has spent eighty percent of her time off-campus, she has established relationships with other students and is able to access weekly seminars online. Flexibility has been vital as while working toward her Masters she also continued to teach Art part-time at Cashmere High School in Christchurch.

“I feel very much a part of the Dunedin School of Art community,” she says. “I’ve been quite demanding of my supervisors, mainly out of a feeling of vulnerability because I was really stretching myself, having been away from my own learning for so long. But they seemed to understand my needs and the ease with which lines of communication have been accessible has made me feel very supported and nurtured.”

Fiona believes that studying by distance as a Masters student has been good for her. “At Masters level there is an expectation that you will be pretty independent and self-reliant when it comes to your own practice,” she says. “As I near graduation I feel enabled and confident to embark on a national and international career as an exhibiting artist.”

Fiona's future has already gained a welcome boost.  She has won the inaugural Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award - a Canterbury focused award which seeks to raise the status of female visual artists working in the wider Canterbury area.  It acknowledges excellence in emerging and mid-career female artists.  As a result, Fiona will hold a solo exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery in 2018.

ART profile KipRichards 3
Doing work experience in a place like the Dunedin Public Art Gallery gives you a different perspective on art – and life.

Kipp Richards
Bachelor of Visual Arts

Kipp Richards, a first year Bachelor of Visual Arts student majoring in Print, has been enjoying undertaking a work placement at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. He spends his work placement days on a variety of tasks designed to give students an overview of how an art gallery operates. 

“It’s really fun – every day has been different,” he says. “The experience is a real insight into how a gallery works and it’s been cool to see ‘behind the scenes’.” 

So far, Kipp has spent his time in exhibitions interacting with the public, helping de-install exhibitions, re-archiving works, and setting up new shows. The placement has not just given him new skills but opened up his eyes to new career possibilities. “As an Arts student, my focus has been on one day becoming an artist – but this experience has shown me that there are many other opportunities out there, like working in an art gallery or being a curator or conservationist.” 

Lynda Cullen, the gallery’s Visitor Programmes Co-ordinator is enthusiastic about the collaborative work placement scheme between Otago Polytechnic and Dunedin Public Art Gallery. “This is our fourth year and the benefits have definitely worked both ways,” she says. “We try to give students an overview of everything during their time here. It’s always been a positive experience – and some of the work placement students have actually ended up doing some work for us.” 

Kipp has certainly enjoyed his time at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and highly recommends the experience to other Arts students. “If you get the opportunity, take it,” he says. “It’s something valuable you can put on your CV!”

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ART profile AnaTeofilo 017
Being at Otago Polytechnic has helped me realise my weaknesses and strengths through painting. It’s opened up my imagination to a place that I thought wouldn’t be possible.

Ana Teofilo
Master of Visual Arts

Ana Teofilo was born and raised in Dunedin but her Samoan ancestry is in her art.

“My work is based on my parents leaving Samoa for New Zealand for a better life. I’m working on a piece called Lanu Musika which is colour music.”

Ana wanted to create a design that stuck out so used glue instead of painting dots.  “I’ve had different reactions to my work from hearing drums through the colours in my paintings to the glue dots reminding them of candy or Aboriginal art and being in Australia. I just want people viewing my work to enjoy them and have fun with their imagination.”

Ana completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2013 and will finish her Masters of Visual Arts this year.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for all the learning and encouragement I’ve had from my supervisors. My experience has been a delight."