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Diploma of Art and Creativity (Advanced) Graduate

Mandy Hague has had an interest in natural history for as long as she can remember. Her fascination related not only to how things looked and acted, but to their evolutionary adaptations and physiological make-up. “I caught up with a lady the other day who was a neighbour of mine many years ago,” Mandy recalls. “She told me that she remembered me as a child picking up roadkill. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I still do that!”

With her sense of curiosity intact and a portfolio of conservation-based artwork, Mandy enrolled directly into the Diploma of Art & Creativity (Advanced). Not surprisingly, she chose to work with natural objects. “I used animal skulls, insects, feathers, etc.,” she says, “but along the way I realised that what I was trying to say in these works related not only to nature, but to our [human] relationship with nature.”

Fast-forward to the 2015 Rotorua Museum Art Awards, where Mandy was named winner of the $10,000 Supreme Art Award for her painting ‘Fools Gould’. Based upon the work of John Gould, the painting featured highly realistic depictions of skulls, birds and foliage. Its complexity and “deliberate blurring of boundaries” was noted by judge Lucy Hammonds and Mandy was thrilled to have her work acknowledged in that way. “It was a work which pushed some boundaries and I can thank my Advanced Diploma training for that,” she says.