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Art student recognised for work on disability

ACG Senior College art student Lucy Grunfeld has been awarded a Pat Hanly Creativity Award for her artwork inspired by disability.

The awards recognise Year 13 students of Visual Arts who show ‘outstanding creativity, imagination and commitment’.

Lucy’s coursework was inspired by Spanish painter Lita Cabellut whose art focused on Frida Kahlo; and Alan Pearson because of his work with Dame Reubina Ann Ballin, a New Zealand psychologist and victims’ rights advocate who was wheelchair bound from her mid-teens.

Articles linking art to disability were also a source of inspiration, Lucy said. “It’s about how art has played an important role in expressing a positive disability identity – an identity I was keen to contribute to.”

As part of her research Lucy visited residents of a retirement village on Waiheke Island, where she lives. “They allowed me to capture their grace in the setting of the home,” she explained. She also used Auckland Art Gallery as a backdrop for her images of figures with disabilities, “almost implying that they themselves were the art,” and looked at symbols relevant to disability, like braille, and incorporated them into her work.

Art Faculty Coordinator Andrew Strachan nominated Lucy for the award, which was presented by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki earlier this month. He said her work displayed tremendous confidence in the way it manipulated imagery and unusual materials to communicate her theme.

As for the future, Lucy hopes it incorporates art in some way. “I love art and hope to continue to study it at university, allowing me to bring the uniqueness of art into everyday life.”

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