The people’s choice

For the second consecutive year, Hazel Rae has won the Zonta Ashburton Female Art Awards “People’s Choice”, this year for her work Voyage, a clear favourite among the 350 votes that were cast.

A portrait of Hazel’s friend’s grandparents, Voyage tells a story. Rather than following the conventions of traditional portraiture, Hazel embellished the paintings with motifs informed by personal stories, aiming to narrate the couple’s individual personalities and their combined life story.

In 2023, Hazel won the award, with her painting Suits, a painted triptych which reflects on the societal perception of women by reinventing images of housewives from the 1950s. With her characters imagined as playing cards, Hazel injects scenes of domesticity with chance and chaos.

Currently studying at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Hazel says she was “humbled and so pleased” that the public enjoys viewing her work.

Main image: Zonta Club of Ashburton member Freda Bierema (left) and Hazel Rae (right) with Hazel’s winning work, Voyage, 2024.

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