Sea turtle stuns at annual art awards

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Riverton Community Arts Centre co-ordinator Anna Cannon in front of "the most talked about" exhibit at this year's awards, the acrylic carved painting Sea Turtle, by Ruth Crouchley.

WITH almost 3000 views online, Te Anau artist Ruth Crouchley’s acrylic carved painting Sea Turtle has so far proved to be the most popular at this year’s Preston Russell Law Art Awards exhibition.

“I love capturing the movement, life and beauty found in nature, using different media and techniques,” Crouchley said.

“I love sea turtles, so my main inspiration for this piece was to celebrate these beautiful creatures. The turtle is painted in acrylics on board. I have carved the background to capture the movement of ocean currents.

“Unfortunately nearly all species of sea turtle… are endangered because of human activities. I hope everyone who sees this piece is reminded to look after our oceans and the amazing sea life it contains.”

Held at the Riverton Community Arts Centre, co-ordinator Anna Cannon said there had been a lot of comments and sharing about the work online, describing it as “stunning”.

“It’s the one everyone has talked about.”

With 27 entries in various mediums including photography, oils, acrylics, mixed media, jewellery, roofing iron, wood, textile, photography in linen, clay, pencil and pen, the award’s exhibition showed an “extraordinary sample of the talent of artists in the Southland, Otago and Central Otago districts”, Cannon said.

This year’s winner was On Their Shoulders, an oil by Invercargill artist Kris Thomas.

“The judges were so impressed by the detail of this work,” Mrs Cannon said.

“This is Kris Thomas’s second oil painting, the first having won the McIntyre Dick Art Award for promising new entrant this year. Primarily self-taught, Kris has previously completed a certificate in visual arts at the Southern Institute of Technology and attended classes with Invercargill artist Greg McDonald. Aside from student exhibitions, this year is her first foray into the art world as a professional artist.”

The Judges’ Choice Award went to three other works, including Eiderdowns, a work in pencil by Invercargill high school pupil Melanie Larsen; A Little Flakey, an oil on linen by Stewart Island artist Lisa Benson; and Manuka Love, a photograph in linen by Laire Purik, also from Stewart Island.

First prize was $2000, and the Judges’ Choice Award was $500 to each artist.

The exhibition finished on Sunday.

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