29 Sep 2018

Chch sisters become two-time winners at WOW awards

2:44 pm on 29 September 2018

Two Christchurch sisters who won the supreme award at the World of Wearable Art awards say their creation was five years in the making.

Christchurch sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry won the World of WearableArt Awards in Wellington last night with their piece, War Story.

Christchurch sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry won the World of WearableArt Awards in Wellington last night with their piece, War Story. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.

WoW announced its winners in Wellington last night, making Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry the first ever two-time supreme award winners.

The pair's garment, War Story, commemorates more than 128,000 New Zealand men and women who served in World War I and 18,000 who never returned.

Ms English said they began planning the garment in 2014, with the goal of getting it onstage in 2018 - the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Kākāpō Queen, Stephanie Cossens.

Kākāpō Queen, Stephanie Cossens. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.

"We wanted to include many tangible memories as well, using recycled materials that have been either collected over the years, traded or salvaged to help imbue this art piece with memories for past, current and future generations," Ms English said.

"The badges and symbols of honour are now worn by our generation, which is a deserving remembrance in this centenary year."

Part of the costume emulates a pile of toy soldiers. When the model stands up, it looks like a war memorial.

This is pulled along in a trolley by the second part of the costume, which represents the current generation, bringing the memories of the past with them.

Ms Meharry said the costume was made from a lot of different materials, including army blankets, old plastic toy soldiers, salvaged rimu from demolished houses, broken red bricks, and traded pieces of pounamu.

She hoped people who saw the work would pause to reflect on New Zealand's participation in World War I.

WoW founder and head judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff said War Story was described by judges as a "thought-provoking narrative", flawless in its execution, and as powerful storytelling through a work of art.

The sisters took out the top award in 2013 for The Exchange and have had six finalist garments on the WOW stage since they began entering in 2012.

The judging panel included Dame Suzie, NOM*d creative director Margarita Robertson, Sam Gao and Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop, Nathalie Bouchard of Cirque du Soleil, and international guest judge Mary Wing To.

This year's show celebrates WoW's 30th anniversary and features garments by 147 designers from a record number of 17 countries.

Designers from eight countries have won awards at the event, which combined wearable art design with a stage show. Each year it attracted an annual audience of around 60,000 people.

The concept was launched in Nelson by Dame Suzie in 1987, as a way to take art off the wall and onto the human form.

Uplifting, David Kirkpatrick.

Uplifting, David Kirkpatrick. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.

Dame Suzie said WoW provided an opportunity for creative people to experiment, push boundaries and explore design, materials and techniques.

This year's show, presented as a series of Six Worlds, featured the traditional categories of avant-garde, Aotearoa and the biennial Bizarre Bra.

World of Wearable Art is on at TSB Arena, Wellington from 27 September to 14 October.

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