1492732422802 - No walls needed for 2017 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award winner

No walls needed for 2017 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award winner

A work that uses fencing wire to say Aotearoa doesn’t need walls has won a national art award.

Aucklander Jill Godwin beat 27 other finalists to become overall winner of the 2017 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award.

The annual competition challenges artists to forge No.8 wire and other agricultural products into sculptural artworks.

Judge Dr Robin Woodward praised the “down-to-Earth Kiwi-ness” of Godwin’s work, called The No.8 Wire Lettering System: Fences vs Walls.

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The piece is set on a grassy background, and No.8 wire is curved into the message “In NZ we don’t need walls, only fences”.

It tells the world what New Zealanders are all about as a society, a statement from Woodward said.

“We need No.8 wire for all sorts of things not least of all is a fence. But in New Zealand we don’t need a wall.”

Godwin’s win has earned her the major prize of $7000 in the annual competition, partnered by Farmlands and managed by Waikato Museum.

Gaye Jurisich from Hamilton was the runner-up for her sculpture For Suzette, while Warkworth-based John Mulholland placed third for his work It’s a bloody lifesaver.

The exhibition reflects what matters to New Zealand artists and communities, Woodward said.

“Some of the entrants in this year’s Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award might feel they are a world apart from such icons of New Zealand art as Colin McCahon and Ralph Hotere – but the themes that inform the work of major New Zealand artists run deep. They resurface again here in many of the works in the exhibition.”

“What we see here in the finalists of the Fieldays 2017 No.8 Wire National Art Award is art that taps a deep well of creativity in New Zealanders.”

The calibre of artworks impressed New Zealand National Fieldays Society President Peter Carr, who was pleased to see artists from previous years returning.

The 2017 President’s Choice Award went to Cambridge artist Terry Pluck with his artwork Size No.8 Gumboots.

“Synonymous with farming and the Society’s founding objective, the piece brings town and country together,” Carr said in a statement.

The No.8 Wire National Art Award is the first of this year’s Fieldays festivities and an exhibition featuring all 28 finalists will run at Hamilton’s ArtsPost until 22 May.

ArtsPost is open 10am to 5pm daily and entry is free.

Selected artworks will also be on display at Fieldays from 14 to 17 June at Mystery Creek.