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Hours of ironing turns into award-winning art

Masterton artist Jann Lenihan has walked away with the Highly Commended prize of $500 cash in the 2023 Parkin Drawing Prize opening for her work ‘Ironing Bored’.

Auckland Art Gallery director Kirsten Lacy announced the winning submissions at the opening of the Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington last week.

Lenihan was among 11 other artists awarded the highly commended prize of $500 cash. Each submission appeared anonymously and was blindly judged.

These prizes were awarded to Kata Brown, Frances Krsinich, Lucy Dolan Kang, Bonnie Wroe, Jordan Barnes, Brent Treacher, Allette Ockhuysen, Motoko Kikkawa, Duncan Anderson, Emily Harris and Clara Wells.

Lenihan told the Times-Age she was grateful to those who helped organise the event.

“It’s an acknowledgement of the work that you’ve put in. Being in that context was pretty fabulous with all the other artists – seeing it all hung like that – there were some amazing work,” she said.

Lenihans’s winning piece ‘Ironing Bored’.

Lenihan’s ‘Ironing Bored’ is a mixed media work made with a reused ironing board cover, embroidery, paint, ink, pen, and pencil.

In a description of her work, Lenihan said that when she worked in an office, “I ironed my work clothes every Sunday while imagining the artwork I would make if I had more time. I started drawing these ideas on the cover, then – when I replaced it with a new one – added paint and pen. I entered this in one of the first Parkin Prize Awards but was not selected. I then added bits over the years, treating it almost like a journal. Finally, this year, I embroidered over some of the images and stitched concentric circles to reflect my repeated process, ironing, and entries.”

Meanwhile, this year’s Parkin Drawing Prize winner Connah Podmore – a 36-year-old mother of two from Wellington – took home the grand prize of $25,000.

To see the prize winners’ work, head to

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