Napier-based artist Asaki Kajima won the $5000 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award for 2020 with a Dali-inspired sculptural artwork entitled Space Cow.

Competition judge James Wright announced the award at Hamilton's ArtsPost on July 2.

"I'm very much a hands-on person and in this piece you see the hand of the maker. It's raw and simplistic, but it's heartfelt and that comes through. It's how a farmer sees the animal when it's hung, but it's also an artwork you see on three levels with the shadows it throws," said James.

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The work was selected by a blind-judging process from 28 finalists, all of which are now on display at ArtsPost in Hamilton until August 3.

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"The ability within our artistic community to turn an agricultural supply material into a compelling creative work is impressive. Everyone should take the opportunity to visit this uniquely Kiwi art exhibition."

He said he chose pieces that resonated with him, and spoke to his head and heart, but they were difficult decisions because the quality of all the artworks was very high.

Managed by Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, the annual award challenges artists to create sculptures using No.8 wire and other agricultural materials.

"This award has become a focal point for artists around the country interested in taking up a special challenge to reflect part of our national ethos," said Waikato Museum director Cherie Meecham.

"Despite the challenges of the past few months the award highlights the resilience and innovation of the rural community in art form. The works are a real credit to the creativity of Kiwi's even in uncertain times. It's wonderful to see the return of the event and it comes right in time for Fieldays Online," said New Zealand National Fieldays Society president James Allen.

"We are always keen to further expand and diversify our support for the arts which is why we are building the Waikato Regional Theatre," said Momentum Waikato CEO Kelvyn Eglinton.

"The Covid-19 crisis has prompted rural communities to look at long-term funding and impact investment strategies to improve their social resilience, so partnering with Fieldays is a great opportunity to introduce them to the opportunity we represent. We're really chuffed to be a part of the No.8 Wire National Art Award."

The awards presented were - 2020 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award for $5000: Space Cow, Asaki Kajima from Napier, Hawke's Bay; 2020 Runner-up award for $800: Specimens, Anna Gedson from Ōpōtiki, Bay of Plenty and 2020 third place for $300: Piupiu: Reflections, Jack Gower from Taupō.

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