“Artists are raconteurs of their society and of their epoch. Their language is the material they use. I use different mediums like bronze, glass, stone, plastics etc. to tell my story. I try to create artworks, with personality; that transmit sensations, with elements of fiction or fantasy.” -Nejat Kavvas
Nejat Kavvas has been painting, engraving and sculpting since 1959, when he was just 12 years old. Kavvas’ interest in art, art history and archeology sprang naturally from his Turkish heritage. Having been born in the land of many human inventions, including glass making, he has been fascinated with glass objects since childhood. As a youth Kavvas purchased one of his first antique Ionian, tear-drop, glass bottles dating from the 5th century AD. Then, when he was 18 years old, he bought a Lydian, black-glass bracelet dating from the 7th century BC. By observing antiquities, and precious objects in hundreds of museums, art galleries and archeological sites throughout the world, and having been raised in Anatolia, the cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, over the years he has gained much inspiration from what he has seen and experienced. Consequently, Kavvas is enjoying channeling this knowledge into creatively expressing of his own ideas through glass.
Due to his chemistry background stemming from a Pharmacy degree, he invented a revolutionary sandblasting technique, formulated variety of mirrors and developed metallic luster paints for glass industry. Kavvas became a full time artist after learning glass casting, pate de verre, flame working and sand casting in United States, Europe and New Zealand.
In turning to glass making, this lifelong exposure to colour and form, and the demands of interpreting modern designs and art works in woven carpet, was coupled with his chemistry background. Kavvas knows the chemistry and physics of glass. Kavvas experiments in his studio, varying known techniques of glass casting, and developing methods of his own, fusing colour, building fragile lattices of glass crystal, shaping and forming glass, and casting robust pieces of considerable gravity. He works with glass of little or no light, or of the deepest transparency and greatest brilliance.
Kavvas has taught at various art schools in Europe and New Zealand. He has exhibited at various galleries in New Zealand, Europe and United States and was invited to exhibit at prestigious SOFA art exhibition in Chicago, 2011.
Having visited hundreds of museums, art galleries and archeological sites throughout the world, Kavvas has gained a wealth of inspiration from what he has observed and experienced over the years. This has led to his own desire to express the mythology of New Zealand in glass with particular emphasis on color.
Currently, Kavvas continues his works at his own studio in Auckland’s North Shore, which was founded in October 2009. He was among finalists for a Ranomok Glass Prize in 2009, and Molly Morpeth Canaday 3D award in 2010.