A picture tells $50,000 worth of words: MAMA National Photography Prize

Photo: Michael Rayner. Actor David Gulpilil.

Photo: Michael Rayner. Actor David Gulpilil.

Extraordinary and evocative, the work of Australia’s most exciting photographic talent will showcase in a national exhibition from May 21.

The prestigious MAMA National Photography Prize, with a total prize pool of up to $50,000, attracted countless entries from which 100 works by 65 photographers are shortlisted.

They include the captivating portrait of actor David Gulpilil (above) by Walkley and Quill award winning TWR photographer Michael Rayner, who took out the 2016 Melbourne Press Club’s best features photograph with this image.

The MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury) Art Foundation will announce the prize winners – whose work will be acquired for their collection – on May 20 and the exhibition opens on May 21.

MAMA National Photography prize

  • Saturday, May 21 to Sunday, August 7
  • 546 Dean Street, Albury NSW
  • Free except for the meet the artists morning tea ($12) from 10am-11.30am, May 21.

 

Photo: Rex Dupain. Surfer Chick and White Pointer

Photo: Rex Dupain. Surfer Chick and White Pointer

The works tackle the themes of “narrative, object, landscape, portrait, documentary and construct” and will be on show and for sale until August 7.

Photographic talent runs in the Dupain family. Finalist Rex Dupain is the son of the iconic Australian photographer, Max Dupain, whose work was acquired through the prize 32 years ago, a year after the biennial prize started in 1983.

Another finalist, Sam Shmith, is the grandson of celebrated portrait and fashion photographer, Athol Shmith.

Photo: Sam Shmith. Untitled.

Photo: Sam Shmith. Untitled.

It’s an acquisitive prize pool, rather than a set prize amount, and used to acquire a number of works.

“Collecting photography is part of MAMA’s DNA,” says Tony Smith, MAMA Art Foundation chairman.

Work by a number of other 2016 finalists has previously been acquired by MAMA through the national prize  including Polixeni Papapetrou, Petrina Hicks and Bronek Kozka.

Others shortlisted are Dasha Riley and the acclaimed Brisbane-based photographer, Michael Cook.

PHOTO: DASHA RILEY. AUTUMN WALK

PHOTO: DASHA RILEY. AUTUMN WALK

This the longest-running and one of the most lucrative, acquisitive photography prizes in Australia. More than 90 works have been acquired by MAMA since the award’s inception, adding to and enriching the museum’s collection of more than 1000 photographic works.

The award comprises the MAMA Art Foundation National Photography Prize of up to $47,000 – used to purchase works costing various amounts – and the $3,000 John and Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship which has been offered since 2000 to provide encouragement and financial assistance to an emerging photographer chosen from the exhibition.

“The National Photography Prize not only further strengthens the significance of MAMA’s collection by acquiring works nominated as prize winners, ” Tony Smith says.

“It supports Australian artists and offers regional collectors the chance to purchase and develop their own collections and reinforces the importance of acquiring photographic works that represent and reflect contemporary Australian society.”

Michael Rayner and David Gulpilil.

Michael Rayner and David Gulpilil.

TWR-20150923-001-David-Gulpilil-cover

 

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