Diversity shines at annual art awards

Artist Nela Fletcher won this year's ILT Art Awards with her installation fitting in (MIQ, Christchurch/settling in, Invercargill)

CELEBRATING this year’s ILT Art Awards last Friday at the SIT Raw Gallery in Invercargill, ILT deputy president Ange Newell confirmed the event was “one of the highlights on the arts calendar”.

“We need these art events to bring us out [together]… to start connecting again with each other”, especially after the isolation which Covid-19 brought, she said.

As well as the more traditional art mediums, up to 80 artists entered 91 diverse works, from embroidery and paper mache to driftwood and an installation.

One of the sponsors Community South chair Trish Boyle said the thing about art was the pieces appeal to different people.

“Art is the soul of our community.”

Southland Arts Society president Anne Irving said the annual awards, which were into its second decade, were open to amateur and professional artists, inclusive of all mediums.

She was “absolutely thrilled with the response [from the artists]… and the opportunity for us to get together and talk art for as long as we want too”, she said.

Southern Institute of Technology head of faculty new media, arts and business Hamish Small reminded the crowd this year would be the last time the Raw Gallery would be used “for this occasion” as next year, the awards and exhibition were planned to be held in SIT’s Centre for Creative Industries (CCI) which was currently under construction at the former St John’s Anglican Church site on Tay St.

Judges, visual artist and senior lecturer Hannah Joynt and art curator Lisa Wilkie, both of Dunedin, awarded the Judges Choice Award to Owen Brown for Schizophrenia, a digital drawing and woodcut work, saying printmaking had a “strong, visual language”.

An art installation, Fitting in (MIQ, Christchurch/ settling in, Invercargill), by Nela Fletcher won the Supreme Award, winning $6000.

Second was Teri Linder with her watercolour, May 1st, and third was Caroline Wilkinson with Modern Evil, a trio of stoneware and glaze, a modern take on the Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil series.

James Yau won the Southland Resident Award for The Beehive, an ink on canvas work.

Mrs Irving said she was thrilled to have so many young people involved this year with the Year 11 to Year 13 award going to Aleck Ricamore for Reflect, an oil.

“To compete… they have to be really brave.”

  • The exhibition will run until Friday, September 3, at SIT Raw Gallery, Don St, Invercargill.