Blind sculptor and author from Mt Roskill appreciated for positive attitude
Juliet Jackson is a gifted painter, sculptor and writer. She is also blind.
The Mt Roskill woman is a finalist in the Artistic Achievement category in the 2015 Attitude Awards. The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis with a disability.
Juliet has always been a keen artist. After high school she completed a fine arts degree at Elam, majoring in painting and gained a degree in visual communications at Unitec.
In 2009 Juliet became blind. As well as affecting her day-to-day life, it also affected the way she experienced art. Total vision loss made it really hard for Julie to appreciate paintings which felt flat on the page.
Juliet had to learn to explore art through her other senses. Using touch, Juliet began working with sculpture and ceramics. She took her first classes at Artstation with New Zealand ceramicist Bronwyn Cornish.
“I could develop creative ideas in clay and express myself. It was extremely rewarding to utilise my visual imagination again,” says Juliet.
Juliet started by sculpting small figures and animals. As she became more confident she shifted her focus to busts, moulding the head and shoulders by feel alone. She recently submitted a series of work to the Portage Ceramic Awards, New Zealand’s premier ceramics prize.
Juliet also explores art through language. She began creative writing through the Toi Ora Live Art Trust and inspired by her classes there, she went on to gain a Masters in Creative Writing from AUT. She has produced several short stories and a self-published novel title ‘Lifting the Mask’.
“Some things we experience can be difficult to communicate,” says Julie.
“For this reason I turn to sculpture and fiction as a way to invoke questions about the fragility and resilience of the human spirit.”
Juliet wants to ensure that other people with disabilities can experience art too. She has assisted Be. Accessible with arts advocacy, helping art galleries, museums and theatres around Auckland to become more accessible.
Juliet will find out if she has won the Artistic Achievement Attitude Award at a black-tie gala on World Disability Day, December 3 at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre.
There are eight categories in the 2015 Attitude Awards: Courage in Sport, Spirit of Attitude, Making a Difference, Artistic Achievement, Youth, Junior, the Attitude ACC Employer Award and Sport Performer of the Year. The overall winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award is selected from the category winners and a People’s Choice winner and Hall of Fame inductee are also announced on the night.
Attitude Awards Trustee Dan Buckingham, a member of the elite national wheelchair rugby team the Wheel Blacks, says: “It’s always an exciting time here at Attitude as we find out who the finalists are and count down to the big night. The Awards reflect what Attitude is all about – sharing stories that prove people with disabilities can overcome adversity and achieve greatness, whether that be big or small.”
“We thank our fantastic family of sponsors who allow us to present the Attitude Awards year on year. Collectively we are changing people’s view of what is achievable when someone lives with a disability.”
Dan encourages everyone to visit AttitudeLive.com in early November to see short films of the finalists and to vote for the person most deserving of the ‘People’s Choice Award’.
The Artistic Achievement Award is sponsored by IHC Foundation. Sir Roderick Deane, Foundation Chair, says: “We continue to be inspired by what the finalists have created in their very different fields of artistic endeavour. We applaud their exceptional talent and the unique and extraordinary view of the world they share through art.”
Other Sponsors supporting the Awards include: ACC, Drake Medox, Ministry of Health, Barfoot & Thompson, Westpac, Air New Zealand, Lion Foundation, Invacare and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.
Chief Executive of ACC Scott Pickering says ACC is proud to be principal sponsor of the awards for the eighth year, including sponsorship of the Attitude ACC Employer Award and the Attitude ACC Supreme Award.
“The Attitude Awards shine a light on New Zealand’s unsung heroes. At ACC we’re delighted to support the Awards and to acknowledge New Zealanders who live life to the fullest, achieve their goals and provide role models to our community.”
For tickets to the Attitude Awards gala evening on December 3 contact Sue Wales-Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 378 1564.
Watch previous Awards footage at www.AttitudeLive.com