Artist grabs gold medal at games

Upper Hutt Leader - - CONVERSATIONS - ELEANOR WENMAN

When Sh­eryl Gal­lagher flew to Croa­tia last month, she spent the long-haul flight wor­ry­ing if there was enough bub­ble wrap around the pre­cious ceramic art­works in her suit­case.

The Up­per Hutt artist was one of four Ki­wis fly­ing to Slavon­ski Brod, a town with a pop­u­la­tion of around 59,000, for the bi­en­nial World Art Games.

For Gal­lagher, the games were a cel­e­bra­tion of dif­fer­ent cul­tures as she ex­plored how artists pre­sented their cul­tures and was treated to dis­plays from Croa­t­ian artists. ‘‘They’re right into lit­er­a­ture and po­etry.’’ Liv­ing his­tory was also a big part of their artis­tic scene, she said.

Artists from around 55 coun­tries gath­ered for the week-long fes­ti­val, which be­gan on August 12. Not every­one could make it to the fes­ti­val, due to trans­porta­tion and fi­nan­cial is­sues, Gal­lagher said, but around 50 artists gath­ered in Slavon­ski Brod.

‘‘We don’t go to be fa­mous, it’s more about con­nect­ing with other artists than sell­ing your work. It’s not re­ally about sell­ing your work at all.’’

Gal­lagher took along pieces to en­ter in ce­ram­ics, pho­tog­ra­phy, sculp­ture and jew­ellery, but it was her set of three ceramic baby gourds that saw her scoop a gold medal.

‘‘It was re­ally quite amaz­ing. I have never won a medal be­fore.’’

There were around 10 other artists en­tered in

‘‘We don’t go to be fa­mous, it’s more about con­nect­ing with other artists than sell­ing your work.’’

the ce­ram­ics sec­tion and Gal­lagher said she was hon­oured to have her work cho­sen above some in­cred­i­ble pieces.

To join the Kiwi con­tin­gent, Gal­lagher’s work went through a se­lec­tion process.

She had to ap­ply with pho­tos of her work and the pieces she was plan­ning to take over­seas.

‘‘You are sort of lim­ited by bag­gage space. That’s one of the considerations. The pieces I took were quite small so they had to be well wrapped in bub­ble wrap.’’

She de­scribed her art­work as or­ganic and flow­ing. ’’I like to be able to touch it.’’

It was the Birchville res­i­dent’s sec­ond time at the games and she was al­ready plan­ning to en­ter in two years’ time.

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