Winners of new ZAFAA announced

The Ashburton Art Gallery in partnership with Zonta Club of Ashburton are thrilled to present the inaugural Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award 2017 (ZAFAA17)


The Ashburton Art Gallery in partnership with Zonta Club of Ashburton are thrilled to present the inaugural Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award 2017 (ZAFAA17) an exhibition which highlights the work of female visual artist in Canterbury. This award is unique as it is the first in New Zealand to acknowledge excellence in emerging and mid-career female visuals artists for their future development.  

In its first year, the award has attracted a wide number of entries with 42 artists included in the awards exhibition. This exhibition opened on Friday 3rd March with a large crowd in attendance. A panel of three judges had the hard task of choosing the two winners which included art sector processionals Johanna Zellmer (Dunedin), Felicity Milburn (Christchurch) and Kate McKenzie-Pollock (Timaru).   

The judges acknowledged the many hours of hard work put in by the artists who participated in the exhibition. The Young Generation award of $500 was presented first to Emma Mealing from Ashburton for her photographic triptych Memories. Felicity Milburn spoke on behalf of the judges saying, “We enjoyed the strength of the idea behind the imagery in this work, and how well the artist suggested both the human desire to hold onto time and the impossibility of doing so. We appreciated the rawness and the beauty of the glimpse she offered into a private life

The judges had a hard task of choosing only one winner for the premier award of $3,500 and the valuable opportunity to extend their practice with a solo exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery in 2018. All judges were impressed by Fiona van Oyen’s work I think this is part of my Garden (black) which took out this award. Milburn commented, “this work impressed us with its ambition, its sense of discovery and its strong visual push and pull. Starting with something familiar and domestic, the artist thoroughly destabilised the original imagery, leaving us with something much less certain and much more powerful.” Van Oyen is a Christchurch based artists who is currently completing her Masters in Fine Arts from Dunedin School of Art.

The ZAFAA awards exhibition will run from the 4th of March until the 2nd of April. This exhibition will also be supplemented with a two-part lecture series by prominent women in the art sector taking place during the course of the awards exhibition.


Judges Bios:

Felicity Milburn is a curator at the Christchurch Art Gallery. She works with artists on a wide range of projects and exhibitions and has worked on, and contributed to numerous national and international publications which have supported significant exhibitions. She was a vital curatorial voice in the re-opening of the Christchurch Art Gallery and her most recent exhibition with artists Lisa Walker can be viewed at the Christchurch Art Gallery until early April.

Kate McKenzie-Pollock is the Exhibitions Curator at the Aigantighe Art Gallery in Timaru. She has a background in Museum and Heritage Studies with a particular interest in the role of Galleries within the Asia New Zealand population. She works closely with artists and community groups to increase engagement with the arts and is at work reshaping and growing the exhibition programme of the Aigantighe Gallery.

Johanna Zellmer is a practice artist and senior lecturer at the Otago School of Art. Zellmer completed her masters at the Australian University of Canberra School of Art and undertook formal training as a Goldsmith in Germany. She has an impressive exhibition and publication history and her most recent solo exhibition Forged toured public galleries nationally.




Image is of the winners with the panel of judges for the inaugural Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award 2017 (ZAFAA17). From left to right Kate McKenzie-Pollock, Johanna Zellmer, Fiona Van Oyen, Emma Mealings and Felicity Milburn.

Further information: 

Further information on the award can be found on the Gallery website: 

Written by

Ashburton Art Gallery

10 Mar 2017