SOHS pupil finalist in NZ art award

Past, present and future . . . Ryan William’ painting, Ancestral Inherit› ance, is a finalist in a national art exhibition. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

South Otago High School artist Ryan Williams has been selected as a finalist for a prestigious national award.

The year 12 student entered his 2022 painting, Ancestral Inheritance, in the Wallace Trust Secondary School Art Awards last month and was soon asked to send his work toAuckland, where winners will be announced at the opening of the trust’s competition exhibition in October.

Ryan (15) described his use of digital photo technology in sketches before committing acrylic to card in ‘‘a high› contrast blend of techniques including expressionism and surrealism,’’ to convey his ‘‘fractured, disharmonious’’ feelings about his farming ancestors’ activities around the Sinclair Wetlands in the mid› 1800s.

Also a keen science student, he said he found inspiration in his water study projects for the Royal Society CREST science awards.

In describing his painting which took ‘‘around 30 hours’’ Ryan asked ‘‘what do we inherit from our ancestors? More than DNA . . .the inheritance of their actions . . .A lot of the wetlands drained and farmed by my ancestors are now a cause of environmental issues like algal blooms.’’

The Wallace Trust website says their secondary school art awards ‘‘recognise and celebrate emerging artistic talent in New Zealand . . . These are the young artists to look out for in the future.’’

Ancestral Inheritance also received an excellence award at the Dunedin School of Art — Celebrate Art Aards and Ryan has had five other works selected for the Ringa Toi national art exhibition at Te Papa.

‘‘When my painting is going well it’s calming — time moves fast.’’ Ryan is finalising his portfolio for level 3 art and about to study for exams. He said said he was interested in a future in medicine and health science.