Monday, March 26, 2012

Blizzard Wins an Award

Blizzard (2011)
I won an award!  One of the four 2012 National Contemporary Fibre Arts Awards, the one sponsored by the Nelson City Council for 'the work which best embraces the theme of 'Water and/or Light'  The winning work is Blizzard, part of my Antarctica series.

The judges "felt that there was a lovely subtlety in the work, and that we loved the feeling of disappearing into the blizzard which the depth of the work gave.We also liked the contemporary interpretation of the quote, and the choice of fabric."

I am deeply moved by this Award.  I got a bit hysterical when I first found out, laughing uncontrollably as I conquered my surprise to let the news sink in. Then I started to cry a little. And then, because I had a busy day planned I had to just get on with what I had to do.  But every time I remember this exciting news I roll through another emotional response.   Here are three reasons why it is affecting me so deeply.

I've been a selected finalist in national art awards four times in the past four years but this is my first win.  It feels like an overwhelming acknowledgement of the persistent hard work I put into my art practice, and my commitment to pursuing new directions.  I'm very glad Blizzard is getting this recognition because it is a little different from the work I'm best known for, so I feel the Award is encouraging me to keep experimenting technically as I dig deeper conceptually.

Blizzard (detail)
I almost didn't enter Blizzard because I didn't know how I was going to pay for the courier fee.  Nelson is on  another island, and Blizzard is a big work, not heavy but a large awkward parcel that was expensive to send.   Unexpected dental costs a few months ago used up all my savings and put me on a back foot money-wise.  I sent up a prayer to the universe to sort my finances out before the credit card bill came due and sent the work to Nelson anyway.  The Award is a cash prize of $1500 which will cover all my current bills and make a huge difference over the next few months.  Thank you universe!

Last but not least, is the timing of this award for Blizzard. A century ago this month Captain Laurence 'Titus' Oates died in an Antarctic blizzard. His final words 'I'm just going outside and may be some time' is one of the most famous Antarctic quotes and I made it into Blizzard.  It sends shivers down my spine to have my own honour coincide with this anniversary. There are many celebrations and memorials taking place for Scott's Polar Party this year, and I feel that this Award gives me another connection with Oates and his companions.

The Awards show is called Changing Threads and is on at The Refinery Artspace in Nelson, New Zealand until 21 April.  Unfortunately I won't get a chance to go down and see it, but if you do, please write and tell me all about it.


Joan said...

Congratulations Meliors!!!!! This is such wonderful news! It is so deserved. Your work is so special. The way the words slowly fade.. sends goosebumbs up my spine. The thing about art is the initial original idea and this idea was magic. I have this crazy picture in my mind of Captain Oates sitting invisible before your work in the gallery, nodding his head with pleasure at being remebered in this way. A visual poem of nine words.

Barry Smith said...

Yes, Meliors! And congratulations from me too. This is a very fine work and the timing of the award is amazing. Poor Oates was a bit of a fish out of water with all the RN about him. I still think of them all drifting slowly towards a final burial at sea.

Ice Maiden

Drift on ice maiden
sapphire of death
remote, serene
on a silent sea

a watercolourist’s
a sculptor’s envy
you are beauty
taking a last voyage.

Inside your cold heart
a secret locked.
in Halls of Valhalla
glasses in hand

men await a collapsed tent,
three friends inside
a burial at sea
drift on ice maiden.

Bls - 2006

Bronwyn Lloyd said...

I can't tell you how happy I am to read about your award Meliors. That is just flippin' awesome, for all the reasons you give in your post, and also because your work, and everything that goes into it, conceptually, technically, and emotionally HAS VALUE.

Claire Beynon said...

I echo all the others' enthusiasms for you, your work and this award, Meliors - FANTASTIC! Congratulations - there is great power in the subtle.