Saturday, May 18, 2024

Three artists make finals

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Fiona Barclay’s artwork The green man.

Three east Auckland artists are finalists in a prestigious portrait awards competition that is set to be unveiled in Wellington.

Elise De Silva, Katie Blundell and Fiona Barclay all submitted artwork for the Adam Portraiture Award 2022, a biennial competition for painted portraits of New Zealanders by New Zealanders.

The overall winner ($25,000) and runner-up ($2,500) will be announced on May 25.

The exhibition of all the artwork will be open at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington from May 26-August 14.

Howick Art Group president and full-time artist De Silva’s portrait, named Mum! Can we go to Panmure Pools? depicts her two daughters swimming in the clear waters at Panmure Pools, painted in watercolour.

“I just loved the distortion and ripples when you’re looking down into something in the water,” she says. “That’s what really captured me.”

De Silva says she’s “totally stoked” to be selected as one of the 45 finalists.

“I was absolutely thrilled. Just to even be a finalist is a big recognition within itself!”

Clevedon artist Katie Blundell’s acrylic artwork, called Navel-gazing, is centred on the concept of navel-gazing – someone that is self-indulgently, possibly obsessively, contemplating themselves, Blundell says.

“It’s often frowned upon,” she says. “What I thought I’d do is be a bit playful and actually stare at my bellybutton.”

The rainbow in her portrait symbolises is the LGBTQ+ flag, but backwards.

“I’m looking at it upside down. It’s all about perception. Everyone has their own place in the world. I’m really happy with the self-portrait.”

Like De Silva, Blundell is really excited about being a finalist.

On the opposite side of the spectrum of Blundell and De Silva, who have been painting for years, Fiona Barclay started 18 months ago.

She and her husband are currently enrolled in an oil painting class at Uxbridge.

Her portrait, entitled The green man, was done with gouache, acrylic and oil with a pallet knife.

“It’s a representation of my son Logan’s spontaneity, liveliness and sometimes chaotic presence tempered with his resilience, vulnerability and tendency to deep thought,” Barclay says.

On her being a finalist, she says she “read the confirmation email about five times to make sure it was real!”

“Must be beginner’s luck.”

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