National Contemporary Art Awards winner out of this world

National contemporary Art Award judge Aaron Kreisler with the winning entry Pioneer City Flag
BRUCE MERCER

National contemporary Art Award judge Aaron Kreisler with the winning entry Pioneer City Flag

It's a flag, it's right now, it's for a fictional city on Mars, and it's won.

It has nothing to do with the national flag referendum which closed at midnight on Thursday with 9711 suggested designs but the timing of the National Contemporary Art Award winner was exquisite.

Wellington artist Bronwyn Holloway-Smith's Pioneer City Flag took out the top prize at Friday's award night at Waikato Museum in Hamilton.

She received $15,000 from major sponsors - Hamilton-based architect Chow:Hill and Hamilton law firm Tompkins Wake.

What propelled Holloway-Smith's design ahead of the other 51 award finalists, said judge Aaron Kreisler, was it's immediacy.

An advertising campaign was part of the offering complete with a press release to announce the unveiling of the "new official flag" of Martian colony Pioneer City.

"The work starts today and I think that is kind of interesting," said Kreisler. "When people arrive to the exhibit, they are seeing something that says they are experiencing it right now."

Pioneer City Flag was part of a much bigger project for Holloway-Smith who had explored the idea of colonising Mars since 2010.

Her blog said Pioneer City was "an innovative, fully self-sufficient arcology on Mars" represented by a real estate agency, and an "ongoing project exploring the potential future colonisation".

The black, white and orange flag had four concave indentations - representing the first four planets from the sun - with Pioneer City represented as a circle in the final position, according to the press release.

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Also key to the flags success was it's ability to be flown two ways - black side down or black side up.

"After all, up and down are a matter of perspective - particularly when you are in zero gravity," said the press release.

Other works in the exhibition were bound to catch the eye of museum goers but Kreisler said the idea of the work was just as important as how it looks.

"Maybe an artist who is trying to think of ways of how to speak to people in a grander way but also in a way that talks about things that are happening in our country at the moment, I think, is kind of important."

The exhibition runs from July 18 until November 1, 2015.

 - Stuff

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