Outstanding selection of Australian artists reveals a dynamic picture of Australia
Address: 860 Ferntree Gully Road Wheelers Hill Victoria 3150
Date: 5 October – 17 November 2019
Ticket: Free entry
Call: 03 8544 0500
Tjalini. Lift or carry something heavy, carry a load, lug. 2019
courtesy of the artist, Mimili Maku (Alice Springs) and blackartprojects
Support from the MGA Foundation and Sotheby’s Australia brings the prize pool for the 2019 Bowness Photography Prize to a total of $35,000 – an exciting prospect for Australian artists working with the medium of photography. The winner and three Colour Factory Honourable Mentions will be announced at a special event at MGA on Thursday 10 October 2019.
The Bowness Photography Prize has become an important survey of contemporary photographic practice and one of the most prestigious prizes in the country, providing Australian artists with the opportunity to exhibit at one of Australia's leading public galleries. Since 2017 the prize has been acquisitive and the $30,000 cash prize awarded to the winner ensures that it continues to provide a significant boost to an artist’s career. The Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice Award has been doubled this year from $2,500 to $5,000.
This year’s judging panel consisted of MGA Director, Anouska Phizacklea, Director of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Chris Saines and acclaimed artist Dr Christian Thompson AO. Saines is an extraordinary leader in the arts and cultural sector with over 35 years of experience leading galleries in Australia and New Zealand as a director, curatorial and collection manager, educator and curator. Thompson has built a reputation as one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists, whose multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. Thompson is represented in the MGA Collection as well as other leading national and international collections.
Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director commented that: ‘The annual Bowness Photography Prize is such a unique exhibition, and by design, captures a snapshot of what is going on in contemporary photography in Australia today. With no entry restrictions on size, genre or format, the prize celebrates the diversity of photographic practice and profiles artists at any stage in their career.’
‘This year there were strong thematic ties that bind disparate voices – representation of the LGBTQIA+ community, families who have made Australia their home, alternative, sculptural and experimental photographic practices, performative and constructed realities, with a strong contingent of Indigenous voices. This is a celebration of the diversity of photographic practice and perspectives. There is a currency and potency embedded into this selection that speaks to political, social and environmental issues that we are all facing.’ – Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director
Chris Saines observed that ‘The finalists in this year’s Bowness Photography Prize tell us that contemporary Australian photography is closely engaging with some of our most vexing public conversations, while exploring some of the most intimate aspects of the human condition. While many have embraced the ubiquity of the digital, others continue to explore the potential of analogue and some of these have even revisioned the daguerreotype.’
‘What is common across our selection is a deep commitment to image-making that is, in the main, trenchantly contemporary in nature, that takes camera-based work into new areas of investigation in order to retain its potency and relevance.’ – Chris Saines, Director of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice AwardIn 2018 Sotheby’s Australia became the proud sponsor of the Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice Award. Sotheby’s Australia is the premier auctioneer of art, decorative arts and jewels within Australia, and extols creativity and scholarship. The MGA Foundation is pleased to announce that the prize awarded to the recipient has increased to $5,000 which will provide significant encouragement and support to the selected artist. Sotheby’s Australia’s support of the Bowness Photography Prize is a reflection of the national and historic importance of this prize and the MGA Foundation is profoundly grateful to partner with Sotheby’s Australia for this award.
History of the Bowness Photography PrizeIn 2005 the MGA Foundation was established with the aim of supporting MGA and its significant collection. At the time, Bill Bowness was Chair of the Board, and, under his leadership, the Board and the newly constituted Foundation soon 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.
2019 shortlisted finalists:Rochelle Marie ADAM
Asanka Brendon RATNAYAKE
Vivian Cooper SMITH