Siân Stephens from Wellington has been announced the winner of the 2022 Parkin Drawing Prize and $25,000 – sponsored by Chris Parkin, arts patron, and philanthropist.
Siân’s work ‘Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter’, in coloured pencil, ink and acrylic on brown paper, was chosen as the winner from a record 588 entries nationwide and 76 finalists at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts’ Academy Galleries on Monday 1 August.Reflecting on the winning artwork, Lead Curator Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Felicity Milburn, the judge for this year’s prize, said:
“One work drew me back again and again. It depicts a particular and private moment – a spur-of-the-moment DIY haircut undertaken after a grueling all-nighter. It has an appealing spareness and confidence, but what the artist has included invites more questions than answers. What happened to prompt this change? Is this a moment of self-punishment or one of redemption? The subject couldn’t be more centrally placed in the composition, and yet their expression is entirely obscured.
We must gather our clues from the tenderly observed details - the boldly striped shirt, the blue nail polish, the long, braided ‘rat’s tail’ that is about to be shorn off in what will amount to a radical change of appearance. All this, and much more, makes Siân Stephens’ Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter a fascinating work and a deeply satisfying viewing experience.”
It was the 26-year old’s first time entering the Parkin Drawing Prize and the award win is still sinking in for Siân.
“This has made my whole life! I certainly wasn’t expecting to win so I am feeling completely overwhelmed with happiness. I am so grateful to the judging panel for considering my work and of course Liam for cutting his hair off as this win wouldn’t have happened without him!
Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter was created whilst I was sick with covid in isolation. My partner Liam and I were isolating and going stir crazy at home. Liam is a musician and during our isolation period he decided to stay up all night, make music and drink coffee. He had really long hair at the time and decided to wake me up to tell me he was cutting it off.
Liam is a person who continuously inspires and surprises me, who’s drive to make work and live spontaneously is both enriching and completely fascinating. Him cutting off his characteristically long hair on no sleep is an act I had extreme emotional responses to, so I wanted to pour that and my admiration for him into this drawing.”
Siân works full time at City Gallery Wellington as Visitor Services Host and is also a volunteer Director at Meanwhile gallery which helps give emerging artists out of art school an opportunity to feature in an exhibition.
After emigrating from Wales with her family when she 11 years old, Siân attended Queen Margaret College in Wellington and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours at Massey University.
Felicity Milburn also awarded 10 highly commended prizes worth $500 each. The recipients include:
Denise Batchelor Mark-Making, Slowly (Omapere)
Robyn Penn Hold Time (Auckland)
Veronica Herber Joy Net (Auckland)
Jordan Barnes The Artist in Situ (The War of Art) (New Plymouth)
Sam Dollimore Do You Think Dreams Are Shared Space (Let’s Talk About it Tonight) (Porirua)
Felicity Bergstrom I Captured Your Being (Waipawa)
Lisa Call Aragon (Paraparaumu)
Ina Johann Mapping Another Life: A State of Being in Disguise of a Cloud/Glitches 2022 (Christchurch)
Simon Nicholls Rugosity (Hamilton)
Lea-Anne Sheather Blessings Bequeathed (Whakatane)
The Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition season runs until 11 September at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Academy Galleries, Queens Wharf, Wellington. All the artworks will be for sale giving admirers and collectors the opportunity to purchase some wonderful pieces.
For the first time the previous Parkin Drawing Prize winners’ works will be showcased in an exhibition next to the 2022 finalists, to mark the 10th anniversary of the award. Previous winners include Mark Braunias (2021) In Search of the Saccharine Underground; Poppy Lekner (2020) Forward Slash; Michael Dell (2019) Every Valley; Jacqui Colley (2018) Long Echo; Kirsty Lillico (2017) State Block; Hannah Beehre (2016) The Catastrophe; Gabrielle Amodeo (2015) The Floor We Walk On; Douglas Stichbury (2014) Observer; and Monique Jansen (2013) for AO Folded Moire Drawing.
For more information please contact:
Rebecca Reed – Communications Manager on 021 205 7718 or Rebecca@arribapr.co.nz