Fish for first

WINNER: Artist Penny Lin stands next to her work Fish, which focuses on the ecological well being of the Tamaki Estuary. Ms Lin won the $5000 grand prize in the Estuary Art Awards.
Stephanie Fawcett
WINNER: Artist Penny Lin stands next to her work Fish, which focuses on the ecological well being of the Tamaki Estuary. Ms Lin won the $5000 grand prize in the Estuary Art Awards.

Penny Lin has come out on top thanks to her love of the environment and her artistic talent.

The Howick-based artist's work Fish earned her first place in the Estuary Art Awards last night.

The awards are in their sixth year and include artworks that focus attention on the ecological well being of the Tamaki Estuary.

Ms Lin's work featured flowing grey-blue material and pictogram of fish that are found in the estuary.

``I first came up with the concept of using a long roll of fabric in 2008 but I didn't have the opportunity to express that in a gallery setting then,'' she says. ``The concept originally came from Chinese paintings which were also on long rolls. I chose to focus on Whitebait and the names of different types of Whitebait can be found in the work.''

Ms Lin says the fish at the front of the work are more like drawings and they evolve as they move over the piece into modern Chinese calligraphy.

``Before people had writing systems they would just draw and over time these evolved and developed into calligraphy and writing. At the back of the work they have become the modern Chinese character for `fish','' she says.

``I really wanted to challenge people's concepts of everyday life and how it has changed over time. People used to live by the water - it was where they caught their food and where they did their washing but we've moved away from that and I wanted people to think about history, evolution and the effect we can have on the environment.''

The judges at this year's Estuary Art Awards were Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines and Art Critic TJ McNamara who were both very impressed by the quality of work entered in the competition.
But Ms Lin's work topped them all.

``The work simply struck us both as very conceptual, simple and elegant,'' Mr Saines says. ``The way it progresses through its folds and drops off the end made us think of it as endlessly unrolling and moving upstream.''

Second place in the awards went to Te Waiotaki Rhythm by James Lawrence.

Memorial by Kate Sellar and The Watchers by Brendon John Sellar both received Merit Awards.

Ms Lin's work will be on display alongside the other finalists in the Estuary Art Awards at Uxbridge Creative Centre, Uxbridge Road, Howick from February 17 to March 8.

Visit www.uxbridge.org.nz or call 535-6467 for more information on the exhibition.

Eastern Courier