The winner of the Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award has been announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicking off a six month exhibition in Whanganui.

Ardern, who is also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, made the announcement via video on Monday morning.

The $10,000 award is presented by the Rick Rudd Foundation, which was set up by the renowned Whanganui potter in 2013, and has been established to encourage, foster and promote emerging practitioners of studio ceramics.

Wellington artist Oliver Morse is the 2018 winner with his work 'House of Dee'.

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"I would like to acknowledge the foundation's foresight in establishing this award to support those emerging artists in an art form that has a long tradition in this country," Ardern said.

"As the judges noted, Oliver is someone who has been working with clay for less than two years and has so much potential."

'House of Dee' by Wellington artist Oliver Morse.
'House of Dee' by Wellington artist Oliver Morse.

The award was judged by the foundation's trustees Tom Seaman, Paul Rayner and Rick Rudd who commented: "This enigmatic award-winning work could only have been made in the 21st century.

"The loosely made object is simply canvas... the drawing is confident, lively and sketchy, in keeping with the vessel itself.

"Oliver brings his experience of painting and the theatre to his ceramics. He is someone who has been working with clay for less than two years and yet demonstrates the potential to become a force in the medium in the future.

"This epitomises the reason for the Award being established."

The award focuses on early career artists, and highlights the value of ceramic practice to the local, national and international community.

It received 65 entries from as far as Whangarei and Dunedin with 37 selected for an exhibition at Quartz, Museum of Studio Ceramics in Whanganui which starts today and runs for six weeks.

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Rick Rudd opened Quartz, Museum of Studio Ceramics in 2015.
Rick Rudd opened Quartz, Museum of Studio Ceramics in 2015.