Sally Brownbill

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CALL FOR ENTRIES: William & Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

– posted by Sally

Entries open: Wednesday 30 May – 11 July 2018

In 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.

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.

Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director commented that ‘As the only public institution dedicated to the collection and promotion of Australian photography, MGA holds a special place in the nation’s network of art galleries and museums. The Bowness Photography Prize plays an important part in MGA’s role as ‘the Australian home of photography’, one that recognises exemplary work and champions Australian photographic artists. The Bowness Photography Prize has been providing a platform for artists at all stages stage of their career, promoting and creating greater awareness of their practice. The Prize creates an amazing and unique snapshot of what is going on within the contemporary photographic practice in Australia today.’

Whether emerging or established and regardless of genre or subject matter, artists recognise the impact the prize has had on their careers. Pat Brassington (2013) commented that although her ‘career was fairly well grounded at that time the challenge never fades and self-doubt is never far away so the win lifted my confidence and strengthened my resolve to continue pursuing an experimental practice.’ Petrina Hicks (2014) commented that the prize ‘had a strong impact on my career, as it garnered attention and greater respect for my work.’

Polixeni Papapetrou, one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, sadly passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. She was awarded the 2017 Bowness Photography Prize and upon receiving the prize commented that ‘I am so delighted to receive the Bowness Photography Prize and to enter the circle of artists who have won in the past… For me, the crowning thrill comes with knowing that the Bowness Photography Prize is now an acquisitive prize, which means that my work ‘Delphi’ now belongs to the MGA Collection. For my works to belong to this historically crucial institution is a great honour that fills me with pride and gratitude.’

Image: Polixeni PAPAPETROU Delphi  2016 from the series Eden pigment ink-jet print 127.5 x 85.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection donated by MGA Foundation 2017 MGA 2017.62
courtesy of the Estate of Polixeni Papapetrou and Michael Reid (Sydney + Berlin)

Important dates

Entries open | Wednesday 30 May – 11 July 2018
Finalists announced | Friday 10 August 2018
Exhibition dates | 29 September – 18 November 2018
Winner announcement | Thursday 11 October 2018

Introducing the 2018 Judging panel:

Dr Michael Brand joined the Art Gallery of NSW as director in June 2012. Prior to his appointment, he was consulting director of the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto while it was under construction. From 2005 to 2010, Dr Brand was director of the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, leading both the Getty Center and Getty Villa sites and establishing its new Center for Photography. Previously, he was director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond from 2000 to 2005; assistant director, curatorial and collection development, at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane from 1996 to 2000; curator of Asian art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra from 1988 to 1996; and co-director of the Smithsonian Institution Mughal Garden Project in Lahore, Pakistan from 1988 to 1993.

Dr Brand currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Art Museums and the International Advisory Board of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. He is a past member of the Governing Board of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Anouska Phizacklea (BA (hons), MA, MCom, CPA, GAICD) is Director of Monash Gallery of Art (MGA). She has expertise across the visual, decorative and literary arts as well finance and organisational development, with Masters Degrees in both Fine Arts and Commerce. She has held senior management positions at leading Victorian public institutions, Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), and worked for many years in art research and valuations in galleries and auction houses in Melbourne and London.

David Rosetzky is a Melbourne based artist with an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to art making. Often working with practitioners from the fields of theatre, dance, and film – he creates videos, installations and photographic works in which identity is intimately observed. With an extensive exhibition history both in Australia and overseas, Rosetzky’s ‘Portrait of Cate Blanchett‘ (2008) was exhibited in The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Centre for Photography in New York. In 2005 he was awarded the Anne Landa Award for the Moving Image. David’s solo projects include Composite Images (2018) at Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Gaps (2015) co-commissioned by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne and Carriageworks, Sydney. In 2014 the Centre for Contemporary Photography curated the survey exhibition True Self: David Rosetzky Selected works, which toured nationally. His works are held in numerous collections in Australia including National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, The Buxton Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Previous Bowness Photography Prize winners:

2017 Polixeni Papapetrou
2016 Valerie Sparks
2015 Joseph McGlennon
2014 Petrina Hicks
2013 Pat Brassington
2012 Jesse Marlow
2011 Jacky Redgate
2010 Lee Grant
2009 Paul Knight
2008 Nat Thomas & Concertina Inserra
2007 Ray Cook
2006 Kathy Mackey


Joseph McGLENNON Florilegium #1  2014 from the series Florilegium.
Pigment ink-jet print 127.0 x 100.0 cm Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection.
Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney + Berlin).

Petrina HICKS Venus  2013 from the series The shadows.
Pigment ink-jet print 100.0 x 100.0 cm Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection.
Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney + Berlin).

Pat BRASSINGTON Shadow boxer  2013 from the series Quill.
Pigment ink-jet print 72.0 x 50.0 cm Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection.
Courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne).

High-resolution images of past winners here.
Interviews are available on request.

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