Monday, April 22, 2024

Consecutive wins for No.8 Wire National Art Award winner

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Auckland artist Gina Ferguson and West Coast artist Dale Cotton have taken out the top prize in the Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award with their work It never rains but it pours.
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Award winners Gina Ferguson, Dale Cotton and Heather Olesen.

Auckland artist Gina Ferguson and West Coast artist Dale Cotton have taken out the top prize in the Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award with their work It never rains but it pours.

The annual competition, hosted by Waikato Museum, and supported by the New Zealand National Fieldays Society (NZNFS), has entered its 26th year of challenging artists to turn an iconic Kiwi farming products into art to win a share of $8500 in prize money.

The Rotorua-based sculptor, multi-disciplinary artist, and this year’s judge, Eugene Kara, adhered strictly to the blind-judging process, which keeps entrant identities confidential from the judge. 

With this bias removed, Gina Ferguson also took second place with her artwork Cluster Buster Bath Bomb.

The artists’ statement for the winning work drew inspiration from the poem Rain by Hone Tuwhare, and says that the piece relates to how “our relationship to our environment informs our past, present, and future”.

Kara said the winning artwork was both beautiful and stunning and he had to return to the work several times to admire it.

“The ihi, the wehi, and the mana put into that piece of work made it a full explosion of sensory experience for me.”

Two-time award winner Gina Ferguson, who also won the top award in 2021, was surprised and overjoyed to have been recognised this year for both of her creations. 

Ferguson and Cotton have been collaborating for the past 18 months, most recently having their sculpture on display in the Auckland Botanic Gardens over the summer.

Kara also praised the finalists’ for the profound themes behind the works of art and the sensory experience evoked by the innovative use of material and process.

“I’ve loved the journey of viewing these works, feeling the tensions and the challenges, but also the hope and the optimism that we have as a people of Aotearoa,” he commented.

“A big mihi to all of the artists for your vulnerability, your bravery, and your mahi.”

Auckland-based artist, Alexandra Ryan, was placed third for Giggle!

The event also featured the NZNFS President’s Choice Award, selected by NZNFS president James Allen. 

He chose Morrinsville-based Heather Olesen’s creation Rising Tensions for the award.

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