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FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: William & Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

BY Monash Gallery of Art | 14-Aug-2018
MGA, on behalf of the MGA Foundation, is thrilled to announce the shortlisted finalists for the 2018 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize. The Bowness Photography Prize creates a snapshot of contemporary photographic practice in Australia and continues to showcase excellence in photography, this year’s selection is no exception! The judging panel, Dr Michael Brand, Director of AGNSW, artist Dr David Rosetzky and Anouska Phizacklea, Director of MGA, made the selection from an incredibly strong field of entrants that reflected the diversity and depth of photographic practice in Australia.
The Bowness Photography Prize uniquely captures what is going on in contemporary photographic practice in Australia today. The themes and subject matter resonate with issues dominating our society and culture, and this year saw intense reactions to the politically-charged environment we live in and an exploration of the medium itself. The powerful responses from so many of the entrants includes works that delve into Manus Island Detention Centre refugees, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and Australia’s colonial history.

The removal of the size restriction, previously set at 2 metres, provided a new platform for artists working on a large scale or through installation. The diverse shortlist explores a breath of practice in a range of mediums and formats. There is a strong resurgence in cameraless processes and also highly-constructed digital scenes. Subject matter and themes shift from confronting and quirky portraiture, to traditional landscapes shot through a contemporary lens, through to conceptual or performative practice, and raw, unflinching documentary practice. These works explore the diversity of the Australian experience, culture and environment with explorations into Indigenous perspectives, equality and inequality, gender diversity, sexual identity, empowerment, and disability as well as geological and biological evolution.

In 2005 the MGA Foundation was established with the aim of supporting MGA and its significant collection. The MGA Foundation recognised the importance of providing a platform for contemporary Australian photographers to showcase their work, which would simultaneously raise the profile of MGA and its unique commitment to photographic art. The following year the MGA Foundation launched the inaugural William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize to promote excellence in photography across all photographic media and stylistic genres by both established and emerging artists with work produced within the last year.

The prize has become an important survey of contemporary photographic practice and one of the most prestigious prizes in the country, providing Australian photographers with the opportunity to exhibit at one of Australia's leading public galleries. 2017 saw two exciting developments with the prize becoming acquisitive and the cash prize awarded to the winner increased to $30,000 to ensure that the prize continues to provide a significant boost to a photographer’s career. This year the prize continues to adapt and grow to better reflect photographic practice, removing the size restrictions and opening it up to broader photographic practice.

The MGA Foundation is pleased to announce Sotheby’s Australia, the premier auctioneer of art, decorative arts and jewels within Australia, as the new sponsor of the People’s Choice Award. Sotheby’s Australia is generously supporting the 2018 Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice Award. With their support the prize awarded to the recipient has increased to $2,500 which will provide significant encouragement and support to the selected artist.

Congratulations to the following finalists: Hoda Afshar, Robert Ashton, Sofi Basseghi, Alison Bennett, Devika Bilimoria, Tom Blachford, Aaron Bradbrook, Danica Chappell, Rowan Conroy, Michael Cook, Tamara Dean, Marian Drew, Thomas Edward, Amos Gebhardt, John Gollings, Linsey Gosper, Lee Grant, Janina Green, Ponch Hawkes, Hego, Petrina Hicks, Shelley Horan, Leah King-Smith, Katrin Koenning, Sandra Lamonaca, Mathew Lynn, Kirsten Lyttle, Isobel Markus-Dunworth, Ben McGee, Joseph McGlennon, Rod McNicol, Jacqueline Mitelman, Nasim Nasr, Polixeni Papapetrou, Matthew Portch, Clare Rae, Julie Rrap, Melissa Spiccia, Nathan Stolz, Natalya Stone, Ian Strange, Darren Sylvester, Samuel Szwarcbord, Cyrus Tang, Di Tang, Natalie Tirant, Justine Varga, James Verdon, Martin Walch, Amanda Williams and Anne Zahalka.