Thursday, June 13, 2024

Winners of Estuary Art and Ecology Award revealed

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Evan Woodruffe [left to right], Ramon Robertson, Alby Yap, Rozana Lee and judge Francis McWhannell. Photo Wayne Martin
Artist Wesley John Fourie has been named the winner of the environmentally-themed 16th annual Estuary Art and Ecology Award.

Last weekend at the Uxbridge Malcolm Smith Gallery there was an exhibition of the award’s 20 finalists chosen by well-known and accomplished writer and curator Francis McWhannell, the judge for the second year running.

The only contemporary art prize with ecology at its core, the competition appeals for artists to consider the plights, pollution and beauty of Tamaki Estuary and create an artwork that embodies this theme and inspires and intrigues the community.

“The Estuary Art Award is always a significant occasion for our local arts and environment lovers,” Adele White, Howick Local Board chairperson, says.

“Our congratulations to those whose work were selected as part of this exhibition, and, of course, our supreme congratulations go to our winners.”

First place ($4000) went to Wesley John Fourie for the work Slow Ride (I followed you into the sea).

Fourie’s work, made from wool, cotton, silk embroidery on cotton with a wooden embroidery stand as well as ‘found and gifted rocks’, is a tribute to a day spend water kayaking with a friend, Amber, who helped Fourie get over a fear of the water.

Second place ($2500) went to Perry Projects for her artwork Out of the Red, which is a response to the “widespread myth that indigenous knowledge systems have just ‘come out of nowhere’, making it up as they go along…giving rise to the idea there is no reason to pay back debt for years of dominance and systemic oppression resulting in generational loss of wealth and resources for tangata whenua”.

Her montage work is made up of her photography and historic images, highlighting the damage to the Tamaki Awa and the surrounding area when “tangata whanau are removed from a place of authority and kaitiakitanga”.

Third place ($1500) went to Rozana Lee for her work Linger.

A short video with colour, sound and text, Lee says Linger reflects the vulnerability of every living being and speaks to a different kind of belonging: “when the natural environment is lost, we lost our sense of place and identity”.

“I didn’t expect that (third place),” Lee told the Times. “I was very surprised!”

The two merit awards went to Roman Robertson for Opaque and Alby Yap for reSurface.

The Estuary Art and Ecology Award is sponsored by the Howick Local Board, Gordon Harris, the Tamaki Estuary Environmental Forum and the Rice Family Partnership.

The 20 finalists’ works, as well as a selection of other entries in the Uxbridge concourse area, will be displayed at the Malcolm Smith Gallery until August 27.

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.

The votes for the award will be counted at the close of the exhibition followed by a small award ceremony.

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