Whitecliffe 2003 MFA Graduate Chris Talbot Wilkie, was the overall winner for his oil painting A Pathway of Light (for Murray) at the Southland Art Society-ILT Art Awards in August.
An emotional Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno accepted the prize until his impending arrival. Collecting the cheque on behalf of Wilkie, she explained to a full audience in the gallery how the painting was dedicated to her late husband,
Murray Cardno, who died suddenly in January of a heart attack at Mt Cook National Park. “I am delighted that Chris has won, he is such an interesting man and was a great friend of my late husband. This painting is a wonderful tribute to his memory,” Mrs Cardno said.
When Wilkie did arrive, he was an hour late and relieved to have finally made it after his “crazy journey”. Having no idea that he had won, it was a frantic dash to Invercargill from the North Island, which was made very difficult by the weather.
Beginning at Kaikohe with a funeral en route for his Uncle Martin in Picton, Wilkie got stuck in the snow on the Desert Rd at 3a.m. After what seemed like forever, a young man in a truck managed to pull Wilkie out and he was the last car on the ferry. After sleeping on a Kaikoura Beach, picking up someone’s Trademe junk, and then having to shave in MacDonalds, Wilkie felt that he should be wise enough to avoid such Odysseys.
This is the eleventh year of the Southland Art Society awards in conjunction with the ILT and they received a record 197 entries, three times as many as last year.