ZAFAA award winner

Marie Porter tells Metropol writer Daniella Judge about her artistic background and the meaning behind her award-winning work, The Rocks.

In its eighth year, the ZAFAA Awards (Zonta Ashburton Female Art Awards) were held on 1 March at the Ashburton Art Gallery. Marie Porter, for her work The Rocks, was announced as the winner of the Premier Award.

The Rocks installation began as a collection of small rocks from Horomaka Banks Peninsula. They were virtually the only remnants undamaged on the land, after the devastation of pine tree harvesting. Marie says she has imagined herself as a geologist, laying out the rocks in a grid formation. “Admiring each one’s form, weight, texture and colour, I began to re-imagine and re-make their unique forms in different materials.”

For Marie, interacting physically with The Rocks is essential to discovering their re-imagined materiality and the exhibition viewers were invited to explore the tactile aspect of the work. Accompanying The Rocks was The Collector, a small handmade book of poems that describes some of the making process which the public could interact with and read for themselves.

Marie talks of how imagining, drawing, and playing with paint has always been with her. With a background in fine arts from the Ilam School of Fine Arts and a penchant for experimentation, Marie’s work resonated with the judges for its innovation and sensory appeal, with a judge commenting on The Rocks as “highly pleasurable material experimentation”. Winning the Premier Award not only validates her talent but also offers her a platform to share her art with a wider audience.

Developing her studio practice and working collaboratively to become a member of the Christchurch art community are some of Marie’s plans for the near future. “I am very grateful for the opportunity ZAFAA (soon to be ZAWAA) has awarded me, and highly recommend young and emerging artists participate in this friendly, professionally executed event.”

Main image,From left: Paerau Corneal (judge), Jenny Wang (Young Generation winner), Marie Porter (Premier Award winner), Ruth Watson (judge), Hope Wilson (judge), with winning artwork The Rocks by Marie Porter. 

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