Portage 21

The Portage Ceramic Awards are an annual showcase of contemporary ceramics in Aotearoa. After last year’s 20-year retrospective, which brought together the winning works from 2001 to 2019, this year marks the return of the open-call competition and includes new work made throughout 2020 and 2021. The awards are open to all New Zealand artists both established and emerging whose work spans sculptural and domestic clay traditions as well as other disciplines, including photography and videography.

The judge of this year’s entries was Wellington-based ceramicist and two-time Portage Premier Award winner, Raewyn Atkinson, whose own practice explores the material qualities of porcelain and its expressive potential at the threshold of the natural and cultural, a threshold which, in the context of the Anthropocene and the environmental crises this term entails, has become increasingly porous.

Atkinson has brought this sensibility to her role as judge, selecting those works which reflect on what it is to be a maker amid the many encroachments and confoundments of the Anthropocene and a global pandemic, looking for works which demonstrate a fresh and poetic approach to these circumstances.

Portage 2021 presents the 33 works selected by Atkinson from 226 entries. The Premier Portage Ceramic Award for 2021 was awarded to Teresa Peters for ECHOES, the first photographic work to receive this title in the award’s 21-year history. Merit Awards were presented to Fiona Jack for Rahu bottles and Andrea du Chatenier for Softfall.

Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists: Greg Barron, Blue Black, Phil Brooks, Oliver Cain, Madeleine Child, Andrea du Chatenier, Liz Fea, Mel Ford, Emelia French, Mark Goody, Fiona Jack, Jino Jeong, Chuck Joseph, Keum-Sun Lee & Sang-Sool Shim, Matt McLean, Teresa Peters, Louise Rive, John Roy, Rick Rudd, Takaaki Sakaguchi, Aaron Scythe, Liz Sharek, Duncan Shearer, Rebecca Steedman, Marie Strauss and David Milne, Toby Twiss, Janna van Hasselt, Alex Wilkinson and Ben Wilson.

Image: Madeleine Child, Circus of rings

04 December - 27 February 2022

Awards night: 3 December, 6.30pm (online via Zoom - click here)
Photos by Sam Hartnett