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Jens Hansen Award of Excellence Winners Announced

13 January 2014

NMIT Media Release –for immediate release

Jens Hansen Award of Excellence Winners Announced

Barbara Lawson and Jacqui Clayton have jointly been awarded the Jens Hansen Award of Excellence in Visual Arts and Design for 2013 at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

The prestigious annual award by Jens Hansen Gold & Silversmith is presented for Studio Practice for a student majoring in visual arts and design and in their final year of the Bachelor of Arts and Media programme. The winner is selected by an external moderator.

Barbara Lawson has a background in strategic business planning and brand development which has influenced her work. In her series titled ‘Beauty or Beast’ for the end of year student exhibition Lawson used logos from big brands like Nike, Rolex, Microsoft and Apple, scanned them into her computer, then manipulated the images into screen prints on lengths of board, to form a ‘wall paper.’ “Organisations packed with desires for wealth and power, manipulate and dictate where our identity allegiances lie. Just like walls to be papered, people decorate themselves with the symbols and logos of the Other they wish to emulate,” she says.

Barbara Lawson says winning the award has made her stop and take herself and her art more seriously. “I’m married with three kids and always wanted to come and study art, but you have this voice in the back of your head that tells you ‘now it’s time to get back to the real world’. Winning this award has given me more confidence and the idea that maybe this is for real,” she says.

Jacqui Clayton's work is deeply personal and delves into femininity, sexuality and identity in relation to the traumatic experience of illness, specifically the devastating effects of endometriosis. “It is inspired by my personal experience as my body is a war zone under constant attack from an invisible enemy. It is a battle played out on all fronts, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Many women afflicted by this disease will never conceive naturally if at all. They are compromised – damaged, broken, unable to fulfill their physiological potential and often in extreme pain,” she said.

Jacqui says she was both surprised and delighted to win the Jens Hansen award. “It was a wonderful feeling to have that acknowledgement of my hard work. I poured my heart and soul into my work and it was a cathartic process for me. This award is a personal victory on many fronts and layers.”

Both women say they plan to take some time out before deciding on what to do next.

NMIT Creative Industries Programme Area Leader David James said it was great to see the award shared between two such talented artists this year.

“Both of these graduates presented diverse bodies of work that connect with contemporary art and design practice internationally and provided thought-provoking and engaging perspectives,” he said.

Halfdan Hansen, owner of Jens Hansen Gold & Silversmith, says his team is pleased to continue supporting the local creative industries by providing the award.

“Our family has a long association with NMIT – we used to live next door and my father Jens Hansen taught jewellery and sculpture summer school classes there for a number of years. Like NMIT, our business is a combination of trades and creative/design. We believe in fostering talent and this award is a way for us to do that,” he says.


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