Aspiring – and inspiring – artist Oli Aikawa wins SCAPE award

17 Oct 2022

Multi-award-winning artist Oli Aikawa, 18, has won the senior sculpture design section of the Re:ACTIVATE Aspiring Artists competition in Christchurch.

Selected from nearly 150 entries, Oli’s design, titled Wheelbarrow and a Bag of Rocks, is inspired by his struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The artwork speaks to the toll that mental hard work can take on the mind, body, and spirit.

“OCD feels like carrying 20 people’s responsibilities while pushing a heavy wheelbarrow of distressing thoughts,” Oli says. “The wheelbarrow references the load I have to carry while pushing forward with my life. One day, the rocks will make me strong.”

See Oli at work on his sculpture below.

Entrants were asked to respond to the SCAPE Public Art Season 2022 theme of Sweat Equity, considering the sub-themes of labour and the body, virtuality, and obsolescence.

SCAPE Public Art mentors winning artists to produce their designs for public display in Hagley Park from 5 November 2022–29 January 2023.

Earlier this year, Oli, a Year 13 student, was also awarded The Creators’ Room Scholarship for his colourful oil artwork, titled Hagley.