'Mesmerising' portrait takes out National Photographic Portrait Prize Art Handlers Award

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Victorian photographer Adam Haddrick’s portrait of Indigenous elder Cordy, titled Cordy in the Clouds, has won the 2022 National Photographic Portrait Prize Art Handlers’ Award. 

NPG Collection Officers Jess Kemister and Jacob Potter say they were 'mesmerised' by Haddrick's portrait of Cordy, whose name means ‘Spirit of the Sunrise’ in the traditional language of the Tjungundji people of far North Queensland. 

Haddrick says he was equally as mesmerised when he first encountered Cordy in Charters Towers.

Cordy in the Clouds 2021, by Adam Haddrick
Cordy in the Clouds 2021, by Adam Haddrick

“He shared his story and told me of a visit to India for an archaeology conference where the locals greeted him as a holy man. I hadn’t seen clouds in the sky for weeks but while taking his portrait they rolled in behind as if on cue,” he said.  

For Jess and Jacob, the photo “captures a quiet and still moment, conveying a sense of calm and the peaceful energy of the subject. You can look at this work for a long time,” they said.  

Also announced at the same time was the winner of the 2022 Darling Portrait Prize Art Handler’s Award, which was given to Jane Allan, for a portrait of her carer, Warren, titled Weight of the Mind’s Periapt 2021.

The NPPP winner will be announced on 1 July, and will take home $50,000 in prizes: $30,000 cash from the National Portrait Gallery and $20,000 worth of Canon equipment. 

2022 Judges for the competition include press photographer Nick Moir, the National Portrait Gallery’s Director of Collection and Exhibitions, Sandra Bruce, and Associate Curator Rebecca Ray. 

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