Gill Gatfield Wins Major International Award for Public Art

Press Release – Gill Gatfield

Kiwi sculptor wins major international award for public art

Gill Gatfield’s black granite sculpture ‘The Kiss’ lauded as “strong, simple, yet meaningful, poetic and political” by international public art CODAawards.

This is the first time a New Zealander has won a prestigious CODAaward.

The ambitious 4 tonne sculpture was quarried, created and exhibited in three separate countries.

AUCKLAND, 31 August 2017 – A unique, four-tonne black granite sculpture created by prominent New Zealand sculptor Gill Gatfield has taken out the top award in the Landscape category at the internationally renowned CODAawards.

The CODAawards celebrate outstanding art and design projects that successfully integrate art into interior, architectural or public spaces. CODAawards winners “blend art and design seamlessly to create a place as art, rather than a place with art.”

Sculptor Gill Gatfield said she is honoured to have received the prestigious award. The artist-led project took two years to complete from conception to realisation, involving a team working across three time zones and three languages – Hindi, Danish and English.

Her winning sculpture, titled ‘The Kiss’, is described as “a monumental text message – X – simultaneously representing a letter, symbol, mathematical sign, cross, circle and square.”

To create the sculpture, Gatfield searched internationally for a single block of pure black granite, eventually quarrying an outsized block in India where the stone was cut and polished, then shipped to Denmark.

“This was a challenging and complex project,” says Gatfield; “We constructed ‘The Kiss’ on a beach in Aarhus, Denmark in 2015, during the centenary of women’s right to vote in that country. It is a symbol of equality in both form and concept.”

‘The Kiss’ was visited by over 500,000 people during the biennial Sculpture by the Sea exhibition held in association with ARoS Art Museum, under the patronage of Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark.

Ms Gatfield says ‘The Kiss’ completed its global journey in 2016, when it was transported to New Zealand and presented at Christ’s College, Christchurch NZ for the SCAPE Public Art exhibition. It has since been acquired by a private collector.

The CODAawards competition is run by CODAworx, a high profile international art and design organisation based in USA.

The 2017 awards were judged by a panel of 22 art and design thought leaders including Editor-in-Chief of Interior Design Magazine, CEO of Phaidon, Curator at Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Executive Director of NYC Foundation for the Arts.

“The Kiss project is conceptually very strong, simple and yet meaningful, poetic and political,” said juror Gisue Hariri, Principal Creative Director, Hariri & Hariri Architecture, New York.

The prizewinning artwork combines ancient stone and minimalist form with contemporary content. It offers an inclusive narrative that draws from history, science, language and aesthetics.

“The X symbol represents universal human DNA – the genetic code shared by all women and men, regardless of nationality, race, and religion,” says Gatfield. “Highly reflective and exceeding human scale, ‘The Kiss’ embraces both the landscape and the viewer.”

As a sculptor working internationally, Gill Gatfield says she is inspired by projects that push the boundaries and connect people and place. “‘The Kiss’ has touched many people across the globe,” she says.

The CODAawards 2017 announcement of all winners can be viewed at:

For more details on ‘The Kiss’:

More background on Gill Gatfield’s practice can be found on her website:

About Gill Gatfield

Gill Gatfield has LLB. and MFA(Hons) from University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her artwork is exhibited in sculpture symposiums, galleries, museums and universities in Australia, NZ, USA and Europe, and held in collections worldwide. In 2011 she won a national public art award for ‘Silhouette’, a site specific black granite and white glacial stone sculpture at the gateway to Smales Farm Station Auckland. ‘Native Tongue’, a 3mH text carved from a rare ancient kauri carbon-dated at over 45,000 years old, stands in the public atrium of Spark NZ. A monograph on the artist’s theory and practice, Abstract Figure: Gill Gatfield was released at the International Sculpture Centre Symposium 2013. Recognised for innovation in media, methods and theory, Gill is a member of Global Women, a multi-sector organisation of women leaders promoting diversity and inclusion. Gill was sole Juror of the 18th International Open 2015 Chicago, an open competition for women artists worldwide, and 2015 artist in residence at Kvindemuseet, the national Women’s Museum Denmark, where she developed the solo exhibition ‘Glass Ceiling/Glasloft’ for the Danish suffrage centenary. Gill Gatfield works from her factory studio north of Auckland NZ.

About the CODAawards

The internationally acclaimed CODAawards celebrate the design projects that most successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural, or public spaces. Commissioned Art Matters – and the CODAawards celebrate this. The CODAawards program honours the individuals and the teams whose collective imaginations create the public and private spaces that inspire us every day. All entries are reviewed by a jury of thought leaders in the design, architecture, and art worlds. Jurors evaluate each entry on three unique criteria across ten categories: Commercial, Education, Healthcare, Hospitality, Institutional, Landscape, Liturgical, Public Spaces, Residential and Transportation. Each winning entry will blend the art and design seamlessly to create a place as art, rather than a place with art.

About CODAworx

CODAworx provides a platform to celebrate design projects featuring commissioned artwork in interior, architectural, and public spaces. The CODAworx team is on a mission to transform every space in the world by making more great commissions happen. Since 2012, the site has been the online “Hub of the Commissioned Art Economy,” where anyone can showcase work, hire artists, and get hired. Visit

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