Treasured win for artist

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HECTOR’S dolphin, kakapo, moa – Going, Going, Gone – artist Gemma Baldock’s choker with linked charms made from collaged layers of textured and coloured papers was deemed the supreme winner at the ILT Art Awards last Friday.

“Museums can be sad places that invite a close inspection of remnants from the past; creatures captured and frozen in time, pinned into glass cabinets, away from their natural environment,” she said.

Ironically a man is the central character among the various birds, which also includes a saddleback, hoiho, kiwi, takahe and a tuatara.

Baldock said she wanted to “recreate the mini-stylised replicas of some of New Zealand’s most endangered and already extinct species”.

“The central man-charm has a precarious one-handed hold on the choker, struggling with preventing the loss of these national treasures, whose lives hang in the balance,” she said.

“If they can’t be saved, what will become of the human?”

Rather than glued down, the charms are pinned into place like museum specimens in a vitrine adapted from an old rimu box.

“The museum-like vitrine elevates the issue to one of high importance – it’s time to learn from the the past; it’s time to take action,” she said.

Baldock said this was the third year she had entered the ILT Awards.

“Being an artist in Southland, and this is one of the main art events in Southland… I wanted to support the arts here.”

As the supreme winner, she received $6000. At 24, Baldock also recently won the Emerging Artist Award with her artwork Burning Horse, also a collaged layered of textured and coloured paper piece, at the Riversdale Arts Mixed Media Exhibition last month.

Hosted by the Southland Art Society, awards co-ordinator Sam Chandler said “there were not enough art installations in Invercargill”, so the ILT Art Awards exhibition was “very exciting” for artists to have the opportunity to exhibit their work, and for the public to see the talent in the south.

Sixty artworks were on display from established, professional artists to hobbyists, with a large amount of work from high school pupils. Scattered among the exhibits were artworks from Southern Institute of Technology students. SIT also supported the awards by donating the use of its Don St RAW Gallery.

This year’s judges were artists Peter Cleverley and Robert Westaway. Cleverley has works held in many collections throughout the country and uses landscape and place as the base from which his paintings evolve. Westaway’s work is based in abstract expressionism and incorporates scientific and biomorphic processes to art making.

Chandler said because of the extremely high standard of the art, the judges had found it difficult to decide on the supreme winner, “spending five hours deliberating”.

Second place went to Wuyang (Sarah) Zhao, of James Hargest College, for her acrylic on card, Bonds

Third went to Chris Macdonald for his time-lapse video, Clean Up on Don and Dee

The Southland Resident Award went to Molly Batt, of Verdon College, for her pencil and paint work, Lili. The best artwork by a Year 11-13 pupil went to Taylor Ballantyne, for his dry point etching, Royal Captive

There is also a People’s Choice Award which visitors could vote for.

ILT Art Awards. RAW Gallery, 25 Don St, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, and Saturday, 11am-3pm, until August 30.

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