Winner of $30,000 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize announced
Melbourne‐based, Iranian‐born artist Hoda Afshar has won the $30,000 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize for her photograph ‘Portrait of Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island’ (2018).
The judging panel made the winning selection from 50 finalists whose work reflect the diversity and depth of photographic practice in Australia.
Judge and Director of the MGA Anouska Phizacklea said that the image was worthy of attention and reward.
‘Afshar’s portrait of Behrouz Boochani is compelling and powerful. It is a haunting portrait that speaks to the history of photography. Boochani’s gaze, the fire that burns behind him, the way his body is positioned – it has an intensity and power that is undeniable. Embedded within Afshar’s practice is a deep understanding of photography, its history and how powerful photography can be.’
For winner Hoda Afshar, the acknowledgement is confirmation of the power of art to change the world.
'Winning the Bowness Photography Prize with this portrait of Behrouz Boochani is not only a glorious moment in my career as an artist, but also a confirmation of the trust that I have always placed in the power of art to change the world through changing the way we see it. The Bowness Prize is a record of our current times, as seen through the lens of a group of unique visionaries.
The selection of works on display every year shows us what is at stake, and receiving this award is for me a testament to the fact that what is at stake today is our humanity. I hope that winning this prize will contribute, in some way, to redrawing the lines that divide us and those who have been placed outside the safe borders of our human community.’
Launched in 2006, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize promotes 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.
An exhibition of all finalists is now on display at MGA until 18 November 2018. Gallery visitors are encouraged to vote for their own favourite in the Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice Award.
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