Anna Mc Leod with her award Mobile 2023 10 10

Art imitating life earns accolade for Titirangi sculptor

Art imitating life has won a prestigious Trusts award for Anna McLeod.

The Titirangi resident has finished second for her sculpture, ceramic, and assemblage entry in the 36th
Trusts Art Awards. Waitākere Arts hosted the event, sponsored by The Trusts, at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson.

Anna’s prize-winning piece in stoneware clay, Coral Twist, cuts a vertical twisted form inspired by her own life.

As a child, Anna was diagnosed with mild kyphoscoliosis, an abnormal curve of the spine on two planes, and believed she had grown out of it. But a chiropractic appointment and the resulting x-ray revealed the twist was still there, she says. “I’m celebrating that little spinal twist,” the 59-year-old says. “I think it's beautiful and a unique part of me. I made a series of twisty conical forms that then became rock formations, and this one, I incorporated references of bone anatomy and structure.”

The art teacher and pottery tutor also incorporated a suggestion that this could be a marine coral formation, to weave several layers of meaning into the work. It took 12 painstaking hours to build the sculpture by hand in stages, allowing the clay to set in between each process.

The Waitākere Community Arts Centre committee member says she was surprised to earn an accolade given the calibre of the other entries. “The judges understood the work and the various nuances within it,” she says. “That was worth just as much as the prize to me. I am very grateful to Waitākere Arts for hosting the exhibition, to The Trusts, the many sponsors and people behind the scenes that make this exhibition event possible.”

Waitākere Arts President Sue Butler has praised The Trusts' support. "On behalf of Waitākere Arts and our participating artists, I would like to thank The Trusts for the opportunity to host such an amazing Awards Exhibition. Each year our show gets better!"

Anna launched her early career in Health Sciences and worked as a Sleep and Respiratory Therapist. “Yet there was a yearning to re-explore art for personal reasons,” she says. “The yearning was an awareness that I had some family history and personal history to work through and I gravitated to art as a form of self-therapy and expression. I had a wonderful opportunity to stay home with my children after my second child was born. It was then that I started to explore my inner stories and memories and emotions through art.”

In 2005, she returned to study art as a mature student. Anna started making and exhibiting work but took a decade-long break while teaching full-time. In 2020, she left the full-time profession to pursue ceramics. “Although I have been making work since 2005, I feel like I’m just getting started.”

She plans to use her $2200 prize money to travel to Japan, a bucket list destination postponed by the Covid-19 outbreak.I have always been intrigued by the complexity of Japanese culture and love the art of the Edo period,” she says. “I look forward to visiting pottery towns and artisan workshops and returning with new inspirations to put forward into my work.”

Seven of the 13 artists to win awards live in The West.

Winners of the 36th Trusts Art Awards

1st prize Art- $3000

Nyle Major
2nd prize Art- $2200

Miki Nozomi

3rd prize Art- $1500Jane Davies

1st prize Sculpture/ceramics/assemblage- $3000Oliver Cain
2nd prize Sculpture -$2200Anna McLeod
3rd Prize Sculpture -$1500Fiona Newton

Youth Awards

1st prize 13-15 yr Art- $500Stella Cho
2nd prize 13-15 yr Art -$300Karamu Southon

1st prize 13-15 yr Photography - $500Ezekiel Taumoepeau
2nd prize (not enough entries)
1st prize 16-18 yr Art - $500

Kim Yeyoung

2nd prize - $300

Harmony Leti

1st prize 16-18yr photography - $500.00

Keen Aicken

2nd prize -$300Will Lopez