Sue Francis and Escher Kelaher with their respective design and sculpture works at NMIT. Photo: Kate Russell.

Top arty duo take out NMIT awards


Two very different designers have claimed top honours at this year’s NMIT Arts and Media awards.

Artist Sue Francis and graphic designer Escher Kelaher share the prestigious Jens Hansen Award of Excellence, which goes to the highest achieving students for visual art and design studio practice.

Sue’s winning sculpture ‘Labyrinth’ is made with space frames and vivid red wool. It can be described as a reflection on memory networks, traces and threads – exploring spaces as repositories of memory.

The work was praised for its capacity to “make links between the vagaries of memory and our technological world where memories are stored in the cloud”.

After taking a two-year break, Sue came back at the beginning of 2019 to complete her final year.

“I really wanted to finish it, and the award makes it all worthwhile – it’s the icing on the cake.”

She says the three-year course is a “great springboard” for artists and she wants to continue to create work.

Meanwhile, Escher impressed with his graphic design portfolio containing a diverse range of projects from logo and visual identity design, to poster and web design.

“It’s a big honour. There are so many good works in the collection,” he says.

His interest in graphic design was sparked at Nayland College, through a design class that gave him a taste of the industry.

He is now hoping to build a career here in Nelson and says the course has been the perfect way to prepare him for the workforce.

“If you are interested in anything creative, it’s a good place to come.”