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Winners Announced For ZAFAA24

Now in its eighth year, the Zonta Ashburton Female Art Awards focuses on the art of emerging and mid-career female artists living and working in Waitaha Canterbury. At the awards ceremony on March 01, Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum Director Shirin Khosraviani spoke about the amazing number of entries for this year’s awards, most notably the 26 entries into the Young Generation category, which is the highest number to date. She also noted that in 2025 the competition will be renamed to Zonta Ashburton Women’s Art Awards (ZAWAA), expressing that this change “not only honours the intent and spirit of the awards to support all women, but better captures our desire for a more diverse and inclusive world”.

This year, 35 finalists were selected from 60 entries for the Premier Award, and 26 entries were featured in the Young Generation Award category, for those aged 16-20 years.

This year’s Premier Award was won by Marie Porter for her work The Rocks. In this work, Marie combines found rocks from Horomaka Banks Peninsula with handmade rocks cast from bronze, clay, papier-mâché, and more, to create a collection that she encourages viewers to touch. An accompanying notebook that visitors are also invited to handle contains poetry and sketches. Withstanding turmoil through tectonic shifts and eruptions over millennia, Marie sees rocks as foundational and constant. She describes them as a metaphor for community in their beauty and collective resilience, and calls them “the DNA of our natural world.”

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Judge Ruth Watson, speaking on behalf of the judges Paerau Corneal and Hope Wilson, explained that amongst the finalists’ works there was “excellence in execution across the board, as well as some experimental ideas and approaches”. She described Marie’s winning work as an act of “highly pleasurable material experimentation”, and expressed her delight in seeing visitors interact with the work.

Along with a cash prize of $4,000, Marie Porter has also won the invaluable opportunity to create a solo exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum in 2025.

The ZAFAA24 Young Generation Award went to Jenny Wang for her sculptural entry Flicker. The judges described the work as “materially ambitious and intriguingly resonant, addressing heritage both physical and cultural”.

The ZAFAA awards exhibition will be on display until 14 April 2024. Visitors to the Gallery are encouraged to choose their favourite artwork for the People’s Choice award.

Winner of the ZAFAA23 Premier Award Jo Burzynska’s exhibition Scents Take up the Ringing is also on display and presents combinations of scents, sounds and colours to create a shared sensory experience. In this exhibition, sculptural bells ring with varying tones and are uniquely scented. Visitors are invited to experience the scent and sound pairing of each bell in close proximity and how they combine within the wider space. Scents Take up the Ringing will run until 21 April 2024.

The awards exhibition is delivered through a partnership between the Zonta Club of Ashburton and the Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum, and generously supported by the following local organisations:

Ashburton District Creative Communities, Forsyth Barr, ANZ Private Banking, Bushey Park Trust, Everist Gilchrist Lawyers, Samantha Rose Flowers and Straight Eight Estate Vineyard, Terrace Croft, Cates Grain and Seeds, Scorpio Books, Kate Murney and Barkers Foodstore.

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