2020 has been an extraordinary year. For our 12 final year Bachelor of Arts and Media students, it meant a race against time to complete their projects for the end of year BAM2020 exhibition and their graduation.
And all the hard work paid off as tutors, students, family and friends came together last Friday (11th December) to celebrate the opening of BAM2020 and to learn who had won the Jens Hansen Excellence Award for the best final year student of 2020.
This year’s prestigious Jens Hansen Excellence Award was awarded to artist Cristina Rule, for her work “Threads of Ancestry” which was motivated by the discovery of Cristina’s Mesoamerican ancestral heritage through a genetic ethnicity test.
This knowledge along with some traditional Guatemalan textiles inherited from family, inspired a series of prints and needle felt works which explore Pre-Columbian Mayan symbology, DNA visualisation, colour perception and optical effects.
Award judge, Professor Jane Venis, who is a multi-media artist, musician, writer and Academic Leader at the School of Design in Dunedin was particularly impressed that the project was so well researched and used the artist’s culture, genealogy and DNA results as a springboard for her unique screenprints and textile work. “All Cristina’s work is beautifully made but the screenprints are very impressive. They play with perception and the eyes.”, says Jane.
Halfdan Hansen, General Manager and Creative Director at Jens Hansen, who presented Christina with her award said: “I am thrilled to be presenting this award to the best final year student for the 10th year running. We are proud to continue our support for NMIT students and are consistently impressed by the level of creativity and work produced here in Nelson. I wish all students every success for their future in the creative arts, wherever that may take them.”
Catharine Salmon, NMIT Senior Studio Coordinator said: “We are very proud of what our students have achieved in a year that no one could’ve predicted. As ever, our students have delivered a unique and diverse range of art including a cookbook from a book designer, digital illustrations, packaging design, paintings, prints and a number of art installations using a range of modalities. The student’s work is on display here from Saturday 12th to Thursday 17th December and we invite members of the public to come along and take a look.”
Graduating student Linda Dimitrievski said her project definitely took a turn because of Covid-19. “Finding myself in lockdown at home, I was forced to look around at what materials were available to me. This meant changing what I was originally going to do and working with fabric that I had in my home.” Linda’s work ‘Together / Apart’ reflects on shared impressions during the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19.
Sara Matthews, NMIT’s Programme Lead Specialist for Arts and Design says: “The exhibition is an achievement against all odds. What has been most impressive is the quality of work that has been produced and the ambition within this work, having not been compromised at all by the restrictions of lockdown. Our students found other ways of working and new directions as a result. I would like to congratulate all the students on the diversity, creativity and sensitivity seen within their work.”
Also announced on the evening, were the winners of three distinction awards for studio practice. The prizes, sponsored by The Framing Rooms, Impressions, and the Nelson Suter Art Society, were awarded to Jeet Pandya for a series of seven gouache and ink paintings and Xeulin He for her digital illustrations. Joint winners of the Nelson Suter Art Society Award were painter Georgia Ellison and sculptor Andy Robertson.
Thank you to the local businesses that supported this event: Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmiths, Nelson Suter Art Society, Impressions, The Framing Rooms, Buildright and NMIT.
NMIT’s Bachelor of Arts & Media final year exhibition is open to members of the public from Saturday 12th to Thursday 17th December between 10am to 4pm in the G Block, NMIT.
Did you miss the exhibition? Check out the wide range of work from our 2020 BAM graduates here.