Striking portrait wins 2021 Bowness Photography Prize People's Choice Award

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Iranian-born photographer Ali Tahayori has been awarded the 2021 Bowness Photography Prize's Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award for his work ‘Sisterhood’ (2021).

Sisterhood 2021
pigment ink-jet print
120.0 x 120.0 cm
courtesy of the artist
Ali Tahayori, Sisterhood (2021). Pigment ink-jet print 120.0 x 120.0 cm courtesy of the artist

Over the last 16 years, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize has emerged as an important annual survey of contemporary photographic practice in Australia and one of the most prestigious prizes in the country. 

The People’s Choice Award was voted by the public throughout the exhibition period, with Tahayori receiving $5,000 to support his practice.

The winning work is a photograph from Tahayori's family archive. It has been transformed into a 'kaleidoscopic interpretation' that speaks to an undisclosed trauma, creating a dynamic composition and complex interweaving of layered imagery. The work claimed 35% of the vote, the most ever received, making it a clear favourite.

Ali Tahayori was born in Shiraz, Iran and is now based in Gadigal Country (Sydney, Australia). He is currently completing his Master of Fine Art in Photomedia at National Art School in Sydney. 

Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director, described the image as compelling and visually dynamic. "It is a fascinating use of found imagery, transformed into a photographic work that resembles a patchwork quilt. It is a vibrant composition that speaks to complex relationships with family that reaches back into the past and brings the work into the present."

You can see the finalists of the Bowness Photography Prize for 2021 here. 

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