Nejat Kavvas is a contemporary New Zealand sculptor living in Auckland.
Working in cast glass, stainless steel, and bronze, Kavvas creates dynamic bodies of work that include representational sculptures of native fauna, abstract expressions of a landscape or concept in cast glass, and objects created in pure celebration of form and the art of making.
Whether drawing on the essence of a place or idea, Kavvas’ glass works are recognizable by their vibrant hues, refined and elegant form and above all, their masterful sense of luminescent depth.
Kavvas takes inspiration from our natural world, his character-filled representations of our native birds and ocean life meticulously rendered to reflect the fine and beautiful details found in nature.
Kavvas visited New Zealand in the 1970’s to meet his parents-in-law and for the birth of his first child. He fell in love with New Zealand, and his three-month visit became 43 years of Kavvas calling Aotearoa ‘home’.
Kavvas can look back on a diverse and successful career. A trained pharmacist, he morphed into the role of businessman, at one stage importing glass into New Zealand, however he is probably best known for his long-time ownership of Eastern Rug Gallery. Drawing on his eye for colour and form, he also set up TechLoom, a computerised analytical system for plotting weaving patterns. In addition to the 400 plus rug and carpet designs that he has created, he has also accepted commissions for rugs based on paintings by many New Zealand painters such as Ralph Hotere, Des Robertshaw, John Papas, and Peter James Smith, to name a few.
In 2001 Kavvas retired from the business world to follow his passion for art. Inspired by leading glass-casting artist Jo Nuttall, and encouraged by architect Ron Sang, Kavvas studied figurative sculpture at Florence Art Academy in Italy before travelling the crystalline corridors to the Pilchuk Glass School in Seattle, California Technical University in California, International Glass Furnace School in Istanbul, and the Stipglass School in The Netherlands, among others.
Based in Auckland, Kavvas’ studio is a haven of industrial artfulness. Here he has designed a kiln large enough to accommodate his grander visions, while his background in chemistry informs Nejat’s inner ancient alchemist as he creates his own patinas to colour his cast bronze. It’s a world where Kavvas draws together the cultural threads of his past, his energetic present, and an exploratory future.