Congratulations to Kohl Tyler-Dunshea, first place winner of this year’s prestigious Estuary Art and Ecology Prize.
The Estuary Art Awards bring together artworks by local artists who have responded to the concerns of the Estuary, highlighting the diversity and beauty of the environment as well as the need to look after it.
This year’s awards ceremony, held at the Malcolm Smith Gallery at Uxbridge on Saturday, June 10, celebrated the work of Tyler-Dunshea, along with the work of other finalists including Arielle Walker and Mo Stewart.
Judge Ane Tonga presented the prizes generously donated by the Howick Local Board and Gordon Harris, and in her statement for the winning work, called it an “unmissable” work.
“The artist’s distinctive gathering of ubiquitous materials which includes a collection of plants, placed on a found tabletop with an ultra violet LED light suspended above, is in equal parts intriguing, elegant and, dare I say, outright beautiful. I selected this work, partly, because of its sheer ‘look at me’ audacity.
“However, Offerings, is also rich in inflections. The participative installation work allows gallery visitors to select one of the displayed plants to be placed nearby the Tamaki Estuary or a place of their choosing. Each plant was selected for its ability to stabilise the estuary banks, improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife. Though a seemingly small gesture, the ecological issues which underpin the participatory element of this work are made explicit: both this ‘artwork’ and the estuary need us to activate it in order to make positive change. The work shifts from slow burn to packing a punch and in this way holds us accountable to the Estuary.
“At the heart of this project is a transfusion of ecological values and Tyler-Dunshea’s ability to think beyond the gallery walls to find ways for artworks to have real-life applicability. The artist’s pursuit of the potential of art to positively impact the Tamaki Estuary is ambitious and, for this reason, awarded the first prize.”