Auckland artist Gina Ferguson’s work Wear ‘n’ tear has won her the top prize in the 2021 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award at a ceremony held in Hamilton last night.
The $7000 prize was awarded to Wear ‘n’ tear for the “stunning visual impact and inventive use of gorse, soap and wire.”
The second place went to Morrinsville-based Heather Olesen for her entry Liquid Life, and Cherise Thomson from Auckland was placed third for dune profile no.1.
The annual competition, hosted by Waikato Museum, partnered with Momentum Waikato Community Foundation and supported by the New Zealand National Fieldays Society (NZNFS), challenges artists to turn an iconic Kiwi farming product into art and stake their claim to a share of $8500 in prize money.
The winning entries were judged this year by Viginia King, a renowned Kawakawa-born sculptor artist.
The event also featured the President’s Choice Award, which was won by Hamilton’s Naomi Roche for her creation Spare Ribs. This award was chosen on behalf of NZNFS President James Allen by NZNFS Chief Executive Peter Nation and NZNFS Board member Lynette Pearks.
According to the Viginia King, the imagination, skill and creativity put into the winning creation Wear ‘n’ tear is incredible. “Wear ‘n’ tear resonated with me on so many levels – the artist’s thought-provoking concept and creative transformation of No.8 wire left me with a sense of intrigue,” she said.
“The task of whittling the competition entries down to my top three has been extremely tough but also an immense honour. I’m in awe of all the works submitted this year – I feel truly inspired.”
These awards have developed into a landmark on the New Zealand art scene.
King said the annual open call to artists across Aotearoa continues to provide a unique platform to reinvent an everyday farming product and turn it into a compelling work of art.
With public installations across New Zealand and Australia, the artist praised the finalists’ works for representing a cross-section of artistic styles and inspirations that range from climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic to rural tales and farming life.
The artwork is on display at Hamilton’s ArtsPost until May 24. Entry is free. All artworks in the exhibition are available for sale.