Student Story

Georgia Mackie

Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga Bachelor of Visual Arts ākonga Georgia Mackie has turned her personal relationship with language into three-dimensional art.

Georgia Mackie Student Story 1200 X 600

“I’ll always cherish my last year at the Dunedin School of Art and how much I’ve grown.”

Georgia Mackie

To be displayed at the forthcoming SITE exhibition at the Dunedin School of Art, Georgia’s “MISSPELL 2023” sculpture project contains tactile letters in a variety of sizes and positions that explore Georgia’s journey with dyslexia and navigating learning from childhood through to adulthood.

“I took several weeks off school in intermediate and went to ‘dyslexic boot camp’ to learn strategies to help me read and write. High school had a very academic focus and I didn’t feel there was much room for creativity, and this project responds to that.”

Georgia is excited to be exhibiting her work at SITE 2023, the annual showcase of graduate work, which opens on Friday 17 November at the Dunedin School of Art.

“MISSPELL” is a playful piece, with bright colours and soft textures that make the viewer want to touch and interact with the pieces. The colours are a reference to one of the strategies that Georgia relies on to make reading and writing easier.

“Blue, pink and yellow really help me to read and write, so if i’m doing a long assignment on my computer I’ll change the paragraphs into colour blocks to make it easier as I work.”

But like Georgia’s relationship with learning, the outcome of “MISSPELL” is the result of a journey of experimentation, trial and error. She experimented with hand-dying with natural materials, but didn’t get the bright even colours she wanted. Unnatural dyes were her next step, but ultimately she wound up sourcing predyed wool.

Georgia carves recycled polystyrene—donated to the Art School by Moana Pool—into letter shapes and then needle-felts the wool.

“Needle-felting is a long process because you neeed to build up so many layers to make it dense enough to hold form. This is a lot like my process of reading where I have to go back and read things several times, sometimes colour-coding it to help with memory retention.”

Georgia expanded her process to include sculpting MDF and then texturing the surface with a flocking machine. These processes have been a learning curve.

“I love the reaction of people coming into the studio and going, ‘Oh wow, that is so bright!’", Georgia says.

“There’s been a lot of up and downs through the year, especially with it being my last year. There’s been more challenges and a more difficult scale compared to last year, but it’s been great, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and my learning disability through my research.

“I’ll always cherish my last year at the Dunedin School of Art and how much I’ve grown.”

SITE 2023

SITE is the annual showcase of graduate work from the Dunedin School of Art. Painting, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture and more will be on display. Meet the future big names in contemporary New Zealand art.

Dunedin School of Art, 17–21 November 10am - 4pm

Public Opening, Friday 17 November, 5.30pm-7.30pm

Published on 16 Nov 2023