Manapouri artist Catriona Cunningham, whose submissions to two regional art competitions were rejected recently, has taken out the supreme title in this year's nationwide ILT Art Awards.
Mrs Cunningham was close to giving up on competing in regional art competitions.
She said her works were not accepted in this year's Preston Russell Law Art Awards and the Hope and Sons Art Awards held through the Otago Art Society. The former is open to artists from Southland, Otago and Central Otago, while the Hope and Sons Art Awards is open to any South Island resident or Otago Art Society members.
At the last minute, she entered a watercolour painting inspired by a photograph of the Invercargill cityscape in the ILT Art Awards last month.
The Invercargill-based competition accepts entries from across the country. This year it accepted around 75 entries, Mrs Cunningham said.
She said she entered because she wanted to help support the Southland Art Society through the competition's $25 entry fee.
The artist hails from the UK and studied art at university. She teaches youth and adult art classes in Fiordland, and also works closely with the Manapouri Art Group.
Suffice to say, she did not expect any sort of win. When a fellow artist texted her with a congratulatory note last week, she initially thought it was a joke. Things only set in once she got the official email from Arts Murihiku naming her entry "Invercargill: City of Water and Light" the Supreme Winner in this year's awards. Mrs Cunningham received a $6000 prize, and on top of that, the piece had already been sold, she said.
Other winners in this year's competition are Deagan Wells (2nd) and Andrea Sexton (3rd). The Southland Resident award went to James Morgan and the Year 11-13 award went to Jorden Yaxley. Southlanders can view the Mrs Cunningham's winning entry at the SIT Raw Gallery on Don Street in Invercargill from August 4 to September 7.
Catriona Cunningham's "Invercargill: City of Water and Light" was awarded Supreme Winner in this year's ILT Art Awards. IMAGE: Catriona Cunningham