RT Nelson Emerging Artist Award recipient: Niki Hill
Congratulations to Auckland artist Niki Hill, one of the four recipients of the 2018 RT Nelson Emerging Artist Award
Niki was also a finalist for the People’s Choice Art Award sponsored by Brendan Foot Supersite, with her photographic print ‘Fetal’.
Niki Hill studied at Elam School of Fine Arts from 2005 to 2008 graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Art, BFA(Hons) degree in 2009. In 2016, she returned to Elam to study for a Masters of Fine Art degree at Elam, graduating in May 2018.
Niki’s oeuvre can be described as nothing less than unconventional as it dismantles established photography practices to create new narratives. Earlier bodies of work, Bizarre High Tea and Quasi Fantasy Collection, use fleshy raw materials, like fresh produce, flora, fur, offal, fish skins, fruit and raw meat, to dissect the traditional still life and provide a contemporary view of Western culture and its absurd relation to desire, fashion, consumerism and the environment.
In the works Niki exhibited in the Emergent section at the 2018 NZ Art Show, she revisits flesh as a medium, but this time the human form. Derived from her Master’s exhibition titled Para Zeitgeist: No No ordinary spirit of the time, these works are a suite of photographic portraits and abstract landscapes. The landscapes function as both metaphor and visual counterpoint to the images with figures. The figures and their poses represent the awkward on-going struggle against ableism; the societal barriers that manifest in the lives of people with disabilities and their families (Ableism is the discrimination and marginalisation of people with disabilities in favour of the able-bodied of society). Photographs of landscape details have been projected over a body shrouded in a stretch fabric, set against a black background. The resulting images, whilst recalling asphyxiophilia, also conjure alienated beings, immobile and stifled by their dark and environment. These portraits and abstract landscapes visualise the otherworldliness and chaotic nature of life in the metaphorical disability landscape.