Ceramist Cheryl Lucas awarded $100,000 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship

15 Jul 2019

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2019 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship recipient Cheryl Lucas. Photo: Sarah Rowlands
2019 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship recipient Cheryl Lucas Photo credit: Sarah Rowlands

“Ceramics is the perfect medium to convey even the most unpalatable truths,” says Lyttelton-based master ceramist and visual artist, Cheryl Lucas, who has been awarded the 2019 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship.

"The Fellowship affords me a concentrated period of time to explore and realise new work for exhibitions at the Christchurch Art Gallery and SCAPE,” says Cheryl.

“This work will stretch all my faculties and take my practice to another level in terms of ideas, scale and audience exposure."

Cheryl’s new work will grapple with themes of colonialism and societal fractures such as those experienced after the Christchurch earthquakes, embodied within what she describes as the less threatening medium of ceramics. “Sculpted surfaces that are sumptuous, gritty and shiny do make for extremely seductive viewing,” she says.

The $100,000 fellowship will support Cheryl to develop two separate bodies of work that examine landscape and human impact, celebrating and exposing her standing place as a descendant of white colonisation in Aotearoa New Zealand with both rural and urban experience.

She envisions six contemporary chimney pots, representing Christchurch as a post-quake, post-colonial city, paired with historical information for her SCAPE exhibition. For the Christchurch Art Gallery, she plans to create a body of work about Christchurch and rural New Zealand, exposing and acknowledging natural and human-made events that shape the identities and lives of its residents.

Caption: Cheryl Lucas in her studio making replica chimney pots after the Christchurch earthquakes
Photo: Peter Rough

Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says, “We see great value in supporting well-respected practitioners, like Cheryl, to push their practice to the very edge of possibility. In turn, her contribution to New Zealand arts will be of great public value, inviting audiences to think about the multi-faceted nature of human experience in unconventional ways.

“Her sophisticated sculptural forms belie the complexity and seriousness of the themes they unpack. Cheryl’s work translates pertinent issues to Aotearoa, examining through post-colonial and post-Earthquake lenses, the transformation of national identities in New Zealand, and the reshaping of the city of Christchurch and its residents after the Earthquakes. We are looking forward to seeing her new exhibitions come to fruition.”

Cheryl has exhibited in New Zealand and overseas since the 1990s. Her most recent solo exhibitions include The Firing Line (2018), B Side (2015) and MUD (2014) at The National in Christchurch. She has won the Portage Ceramics Merit Award (2017) for her work ‘Milkstock’, and Sculpture on the Peninsula (2011) Premier Award for her installation ‘Harder Larder’. Her work is held in the collections of the Christchurch Art Gallery; Canterbury Museum; Museu del Cantir d’Argentona, Spain; Ceramic Art Museum of Australasia; FuLe International Contemporary Ceramic Art Museums Fu Ping, Shaaznxi, China; Lincoln University; and Ara Institute.  

'Milkstock' Merit award Portage Awards 2017
Photo: Haru Sameshima

The Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship provides the time and/or resources for an established practitioner to commit to a period of experimentation or research in their practice.

The Fellowship was offered annually for its first three years (2004–2006) and is now offered biennially. Previous recipients are Katy Wallace (2017), Areta Wilkinson (2015), Garry Nash (2013), Baye Riddell (2011), Moyra Elliott (2009), Rangi Kipa (2006), Peter Lange (2005), and Malcolm Harrison (2004). 

For media enquiries please contact:

Lauretta Ah Sam
Senior Communications Adviser
Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa
Mob: +64 27 292 1589 | | DDI: +64 4 498 0725 | Ext: 725
E: lauretta.ahsam@creativenz.govt.nz