Estuary art winner to be crowned

Artist Kate van der Drift won last year’s Estuary Art Award, with the winner of this year’s competition to be announced on July 3. Photo supplied

The winner of a prestigious environmentally-themed art prize based in east Auckland will soon be unveiled.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Estuary Art and Ecology Award run by Uxbridge Arts and Culture in Howick.

Centre director Vickie Bowers says the award is the only contemporary art prize with ecology at its core and the award ceremony and exhibition are a longstanding highlight in Uxbridge’s arts calendar.

Judging this year’s entries is well-known and accomplished Auckland-based writer and curator Francis McWhannell.

He’s the curator of the Fletcher Trust Collection, a major private collection of New Zealand art founded in 1962, and also serves as curatorial advisor to the Visions art gallery.

McWhannell judged the competitive Aspiring Art Prize two years ago and the Eden Arts Art Schools Award in 2019 and 2020.

He’s written articles for numerous arts and culture magazines and websites and is the author of two books on historical photography.

Bowers says the Estuary Art Award asks entrants to consider the plights, pollution and beauty of the Tamaki Estuary and create an artwork that embodies that theme and “inspires and intrigues the community”.

She says the Tamaki Estuary Environmental Forum is coming on board this year as an additional sponsor for the Anniversary Award, joining regular contest sponsors the Howick Local Board, Gordon Harris, and The Rice Family Partnership.

“The forum brings together a significant collaboration of local environmental groups,” Bowers says.

“Its support strengthens the ecological element of the competition whilst offering an additional cash incentive of $1500 to the already ample sponsorship, bringing the total prize money to $10,000.

“In an acknowledgement of the continued support of the prize from both sponsors and artists, finalists will be displayed in Uxbridge’s Malcolm Smith Gallery and the exhibition extended to include a selection of other entries in our concourse area.

“These entries can also be considered for the popular People’s Choice Award, which calls for the community to vote for their favourite artwork, sponsored by The Rice Family Partnership.”

People are invited to the award ceremony, at Uxbridge Culture and Arts at 35 Uxbridge Road, Howick, at 2.30pm on July 3.

The exhibition runs until August 28 with the People’s Choice Award votes being counted at the close of the exhibition followed by a small award ceremony.