Blank wall wins 2023 Parkin Drawing Prize


Chris Parkin and Connah Podmore with her artwork “Street light (the room where your brother was born)” 

Wellingtonian Connah Podmore has been announced the winner of the 2023 Parkin Drawing Prize and $25,000 - sponsored by Chris Parkin, arts patron, and philanthropist.

Connah’s work “Street light (the room where your brother was born)” in charcoal on lining paper, pasted on the wall, was chosen as the winner from 500 entries nationwide and 86 finalists at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts’ Academy Galleries on Tuesday 1 August.

Reflecting on the winning artwork, Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Kirsten Lacey, the judge for this year’s prize, said: 

“The winning work of the Parkin drawing prize is a beautifully rendered blank wall, installed life size, quite literally on the gallery wall. This drawing evokes for the viewer our own domestic spaces, where we come to intimately know of our own blank walls. Walls which are never really blank but inscribed with changing shadows, patterns marks and potholes of life. Blank walls which are in fact personal, known to us by virtue of the reflected light of possessions, gifted or bought and their associated memories, while light passes over our roofs marking time across the surface. Walls renovated, re-painted, pock marked from picture frames, or the scuff of boots. 

I loved this work for the attention put to the drawing of blankness, so as the viewer can meditate on what fills their walls. I felt it to be a metaphor for the challenge of meditating with an empty mind, allowing the day's thoughts and images to pass by as we seek refuge from constant information and content.”

Connah, who was a Highly Commended recipient for her work Light Held Light in the 2021 Parkin Drawing Prize, is humbled by the win.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting to win so I am feeling quite overwhelmed. There are some amazing drawings in this exhibition, so just to be part of the show was an honour for me.”

According to Connah, her winning piece is a love letter to her family, and in memory of the many long nights spent feeding her son on the couch and staring at the wall in her living room.

“This is the back wall of our old living room. It is an ordinary room, where ordinary things happened but significant to me as this is where we spent our days when my children were young. When they were babies, I used to stare at the changing shadows on this wall as I nursed them to sleep each night.

One of my key aims for this piece is to draw attention to the depth present in what we overlook as ordinary and unremarkable. This idea is particularly important to me when thinking about motherhood and acts of caregiving generally.”

Connah, who is mother to 3-year-old Renny and 6-year-old Lewis, works part-time at Inverlochy Art School in Wellington. After completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History at Otago University, Connah went on to complete a Masters in Fine Arts at Massey University in Wellington.

Connah says her winning work is the second of a series she has been working on which reflects on her early experiences of being a stay-at-home parent. The first piece ‘This body also holds mine’ commissioned by Te Tuhi in Auckland in 2019, is also a charcoal drawing depicting her then one-year-old son’s bedroom wall in the early hours of the morning. 

For the first time in the Parkin’s history,  12 highly commended prizes worth $500 each were awarded by judge Kirsten Lacey. The recipients include: 

The Day He Told Me He'd Died- by Kata Brown - Year: 2022 (Wellington)

Ironing Bored- by Jann Lenihan - Year: 2023 (Masterton)

40 hour work week- by Frances Krsinich - Year: 2023 (Wellington)

The beginning and the end - by Lucy Dolan Kang - Year: 2023 (Christchurch)

Ruby - by Bonnie Wroe - Year: 2022 (Wellington)

Modernity - by Jordan Barnes - Year: 2023 (New Plymouth)

I just thought I was really important - by Brent Treacher - Year: 2023 (Hastings)

How I Remember It - by Allette Ockhuysen - Year: 2023 (Rakaia)

Dancing Growing - by Motoko Kikkawa - Year: 2022 (Dunedin)

self-portraits - by Duncan Anderson - Year: 2023 (Berlin)

Take it away - by Emily Harris: 2023 (Lower Hutt)

The best I can do for the moment - by Clara Wells – Year:2023 (Christchurch)

All the artworks in the 2023 Parkin Drawing Prize shortlist will be for sale giving admirers and collectors the opportunity to purchase some wonderful pieces which are unlikely to be seen again, given many of the finalists are not represented in any gallery.

The competition, in association with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, promotes excellence and innovation in drawing in all its forms (processes, materials and ideas) and aims to play an important role in fostering New Zealand drawing practice.

Previous winners include Monique Jansen (2013) with AO Folded Moire Drawing; Douglas Stichbury (2014) with Observer, Gabrielle Amodeo (2015) with The Floor We Walk On, Hannah Beehre’s Catastrophe (2016), Kirsty Lillico’s carpet installation State Block (2017), Jacqui Colley for Long Echo (2018), Michael Dell’s Every Valley (2019), Poppy Lekner’s Forward Slash (2020), Mark Braunias’ work ‘In search of the Saccharine Underground’ and Siân Stephens ‘Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter’, at last year’s 10th anniversary.

The Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition will run from Wednesday 2nd August until Sunday, 11 September at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington. 

For more information/interview opportunities please contact:

Rebecca Reed: Email:

Phone: 021 205 7718

Blank wall wins 2023 Parkin Drawing Prize


Parkin Drawing Prize 2023

See 2023 Finalist Artwork here


Connah Podmore | Street light (the room where your brother was born) Not for sale

Merit Awards

The Day He Told Me He'd Died - Kata Brown 

Ironing Bored - Jann Lenihan 

40 hour work week - Frances Krsinich 

The beginning and the end - Lucy Dolan Kang

Ruby - Bonnie Wroe

Modernity - Jordan Barnes

I just thought I was really important Brent Treacher

How I Remember It - Allette Ockhuysen

Dancing Growing - Motoko Kikkawa 

self-portraits Duncan Anderson

Take it awayEmily Harris

The best I can do for the momentClara Wells


Erica Adams | Poropiti

Duncan Anderson | Self-portraits

Debbie Barber | I woke last night and wrote

Jordan Barnes | Modernity

Helen Beaven | Knot Free

Peter Bradburn | ADAMAH

Kata Brown | The Day He Told Me He'd Died

Grant Bunyan | Golden Years

Greg Chaston | The Couturier

Katherine Claypole | No Moving Parts

Brenna Coleman-Smith | My Kalib

Josie Connor | Snail's Pace

Barbara Cope | Through the Looking Glass

Bronwyn Copeland | Exploration of Beauty

Jonathan Cuming | Glimmer

Anne Daniel | Journeys

Yavanna den harder | Zarafe

Akiko Diegel | The Victory of broken wings

Lucy Dolan Kang | The beginning and the end

Sandra Douglas | Entered

Sharon Duymel | MotherMother II

C J Edmonds | Gay Bar

Claire Ellery | Bored Games

Hayley Elliott-Kernot  | Expectations

Abby Evans | Proud warrior

Alice Fennessy  | Self Portrait with the Dollhouse

Lynette Fisher | Self Portrait, 1985

James R Ford | Finitude (Roxburgh)

Natalie Gelder | Construct

Trantham Gordon | A4 Twofold: acknowledging A0 Folded Moire Drawing

Fiona Lee Graham | Nature's Calling

Emily Harris | 'Take It Away'

Heather Hayward | Walking Cups

Lynn Hurst | Boy with Gun

David James | She is Like a Mountain

Ina Johann | Mapping another life - A state of being in disguise of a cloud/Liminalities

Gaye Jurisich | Scroll

Motoko Kikkawa | Dancing Growing

Verity Kindleysides |  Ilsa - 70s Tangerine Dream

Frances Krsinich | 40 hour work week

Peata Larkin | Wishing never caught a crayfish (54 whakataukī_2023)

Jann Lenihan | Ironing Bored

Ying Lim | I Said My Lung Was A Moving Compass

Johnathan Lovering | Fetish

Jodie McEwan | Flow

Brendan McGorry | Mother and Child

Ruth Mitchener | Pre-Porridge

Jane Molloy-Wolt | Primal Transcript

Anne Morris | Torrent

Lisa Munnelly | Dirty Edges Diptych

Cam Munroe | The purple suitcase

Kylie Murrle | Time lapse

Gill Newland | Looped

Allette Ockhuysen | How I Remember It

Antonia O'Mahony | Gleaner Watched by Planets

Rachel  Peary | Silent Listener

Samuel Pepper | Spur

Michele Perry-Madsen | 0800-HELP ME (Map of the Scars)

Connah Podmore | Street light (the room where your brother was born)

Brie Rate | Bell original tea box, sticky notes, camellia

Mark Alister Raymer | Sure-Footing

Sarah Read | Untitled

Helen Reynolds | Pain + Ease - White 3.4.1

James Robinson | ETU (Bridge Mirrors)

Siobhan Rosenthal | Morphine, Day and Night: A DIPTYCH

Nina Hiraina Ross | Dust Map

Emily Schneider | 11.36pm, One Square Inch of Silence

Emma Sellers | Screenshot, (My Father's Death).

Deb Shepherd | Woman's Work #1

Louann Sidon | Lazulum

Amanda Smith | This is the place where I live for now #12 (Broken Heart)

Morag Stokes | Taniwha

Micheal Stone | Convergence

James Thomson Bache  | Blueprint For a Folded Mind

Brent Treacher | I just thought I was really important

Cathy Tuato'o Ross | Wedding dress c 1974 Wrapped in tissue, then unwrapped, looked at and wrapped up again.

Greta Umbers | When it Floods, Where Will We Be Carried?

Fiona Van Oyen | Carbon water and air

Karla Vink | Play?

Elisabeth Vullings | Temporary Site Plan (Variation 1)

Justine Walker | Filled with the intent

Charlotte Warman | Seeking Stillness

James Warrender | Taking the Mickey

Clara Wells | The best I can do for the moment

Bonnie Wroe | Ruby

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