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National Photography Prize 2022

A man holding a violin floats above a flat desert road at sunset
National Photography Prize 2022
Partners

Amos Gebhardt,
Eric, (tripych), 2020,
Archival inkjet pigment print. 95 x 245cm framed size.
Image courtesy of the artist.

The National Photography Prize brings together twelve artists from across Australia who are challenging and extending photographic language and techniques. The Prize is open to artists working across all areas of the photographic field, offering an opportunity to consider the vital role of photography in contemporary art in Australia.

Providing a forum for artists working with photography, the Prize presents cohesive selections of works or works in series, offering a depth of critical reflection that recognises the complexities and nuances of the history of photography and its contemporary manifestation.

The artists selected for the 2022 finalist exhibition represent a breadth of Australian photographic practice. Their concerns encompass First Nations relationships to Country and storytelling, artists’ personal histories, families, communities and languages, environmental and climate action, the history of photography and agitations for the medium’s future.

The National Photography Prize 2022 forms part of PHOTO 2022, international festival of photography, activating sites across Melbourne and Regional Victoria, including Albury—Wodonga, with the most inspiring photography from Australia and around the world.

Inaugurated in 1983, the National Photography Prize has been held biennially at Murray Art Museum Albury. It is Australia’s longest running acquisitive photographic award, with the 2022 iteration representing its 16th presentation.

Exhibiting artists
Amos Gebhardt, Caitlin E. Littlewood, Dean Cross, Dennis Golding, Guy Grabowsky, Janet Laurence, Kate Mitchell, Kiron Robinson, Luke Parker, Robert Fielding, Sara Oscar, Tiyan Baker

Judge
Hany Armanious, artist and Head of Sculpture, National Art School, Sydney

Finalist selection panel
Ellie Buttrose, Curator, Contemporary Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
Hayley Millar Baker artist and winner of the John & Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship, National Photography Prize 2020
Michael Moran, Curator, Murray Art Museum Albury.

Winners
Newcastle artist Tiyan Baker is the recipient of the prestigious Murray Art Museum Albury National Photography Prize 2022.
Photographer Sara Oscar is is the recipient of the John and Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship and will receive a cash award of $5,000 for her work, My Body over the Pieces / Pieces over my Body, 2021.

Amos Gebhardt: Small acts of resistance

Small acts of resistance is a portrait series amplifying personal gestures of resistance. The triptych configuration of each work plays on the traditional trifold frames of both the conventional family portrait and religious altarpiece.

Family Portrait challenges conventional concepts of family in a hyper-visual tableau vivant of non-conformity. In this queer chosen family, two fathers and their loving friends make up the familial support network around the newborn.

Eric depicts Eric Avery, a Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr artist who plays the violin, singing the language of his father’s country. Here he floats above a road, a colonial scar pointing between his ancestral lands.

The final triptych features members of the renowned ballroom collective House of Slé, centring House mother Bhenji Ra. Wrapped in culturally significant symbology, the Slè family appears held by the magnetism of water and cosmos.

In centring non-conforming pathways, Small acts of resistance invites a reorientation of dominant narratives as a site of renewal and reworlding.

A tripytch of an Aboriginal man floating above an orange landscape in the outback. In the man's hand he is holding a violin
Amos Gebhardt

Eric, 2020
Installation view
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Three tripytchs with images of people. The far left c
Amos Gebhardt

Small acts of resistance
National Photography Prize 2022,
Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Three triptychs with framing that closes - each containing photographs of people.
Amos Gebhardt

Small acts of resistance
National Photography Prize 2022,
Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Caitlin E. Littlewood: Decay Theory

Decay Theory is a multi-media body of work informed by the Swedish sugar experiments, carried out between 1945-1954 at Vipeholm Hospital in southern Sweden. The sugar experiments involved feeding the intellectually disabled residents of the hospital excessive sweets in order to effect then research tooth decay.

The image of the face is central to the Decay Theory project, standing in as a symbol for the patients at Vipeholm who were subjected to treatments that they could not orally consent to, due to their function variations.

A visual database consisting of still photography, moving image, and a web-based archive is presented as Decay Theory Repository. The act of accumulation and documentation culminating in an online museum of teeth and the mouth.

A large grey banner, partially on the ground, displaying a dentist's model head with the mouth open
Caitlin E. Littlewood

DECAY THEORY, 2020
Dye sublimation print on polycotton
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

An video still containing the of the lower half of a face. The face is wearing a dental tool causing the teeth to be fully visible.
Caitlin E. Littlewood

Decay Theory Repository, 2020 - ongoing
Video still
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

A large tv playing a video showcasing photos of mouths and old dental records next to a banner displaying
Caitlin E. Littlewood

Decay Theory
National Photography Prize 2022,
Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

National Photography Prize 2022

Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Dean Cross: thinkingbeing laughingcrying livingdying

This work started as a consideration of Frederick McCubbin’s 1889 painting Down on his Luck. Transplanted into current times, who would McCubbin’s disheartened swagman be? In this work the answer is a Rodeo Clown.

From that point an open-ended narrative evolves. For the Rodeo Clown there is the discovery of colonial discourse and an understanding of privilege, as well as an unfortunate turn on the pokies and an untimely end in his pride and joy.

The image of the clown hangs over the wrecked ute, Aime Cesaire’s text and footage of the gambling room. He may no longer be of this world, but he has not passed through either. Cross, a Worimi man, has built this unresolved story as a way of testing how privilege, guilt, and race inform our contemporary lives and aid historical constructions of national identity.

A half visible image of a clown with black face paint dripping down his face, the outback landscape is shown in the background and overlayed on parts of the clown. The photo overlooks a
Dean Cross

thinkingbeinglaughingcryinglivingdying (detail), 2022
National Photography Prize 2022
, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Dean Cross

thinkingbeinglaughingcryinglivingdying (detail), 2022
National Photography Prize 2022
, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Dean Cross

thinkingbeinglaughingcryinglivingdying (detail), 2022
National Photography Prize 2022
, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Dennis Golding: Back Home from Home

In Back Home From Home, Golding holds a white cast reproduction of a Victorian fence in position of a shield. The fence represents those of Redfern, the inner-city Sydney neighbourhood that Golding’s family moved to in 1974, and where Golding was born and raised.

The work shows Golding gesturing to his family’s return to Country. He is photographed standing between his grandparent’s hometowns of Moree and Collarenebri.

The fence, typically a marker of space and ownership extends in an embrace and welcomes rather than excludes. Surrounded by his flat Country, there is a sense of safety and comfort, he is at peace in the landscape, one only felt by being back home.

Dennis Golding

Back Home from Home (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Dennis Golding

Back Home from Home (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Dennis Golding

Back Home from Home, 2021
Photograph, epoxy resin,
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Guy Grabowsky

The five works here all deal in the creative potential of destructive processes. For three works: Encrypted, Lost then Found; Sapphires Lay in Broken Emeralds; and Untitled Ruins this destruction includes methods of scratching, painting, engraving and piercing photographic negatives to produce large scale prints without the use of camera.

The two works titled Symbiotic Surface are made by combining digital photographic techniques with analogue outputs. Images captured on a phone are abstracted, digitally printed on to a transparency and then printed in a darkroom. All digital information, the pixels of the images, are lost in the light of the analogue photo process and destroyed in the printing.

These unconventional approaches to image making result in compelling photographs that oppose a traditional understanding of photography as a tool to document reality.

Guy Grabowsky

Untitled Ruins, 2020
Hand printed analogue C-type photographic prints
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Guy Grabowsky

Encrypted, Lost then Found, 2021
Hand printed analogue C-type photographic prints
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Guy Grabowsky in the National Photography Prize 2022,

Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Janet Laurence: Conversations with Trees

Conversations with Trees is based on work that Janet Laurence undertook for her solo exhibition 'Entangled Garden for Plant Memory' at the Yu-Hsiu Museum of Art in Nantou City, Taiwan, 2020. The exhibition was an opportunity for the artist to explore the mountainous region of Nantou and weave the natural forest in with the historical botanical collection of the National University of Taipei. Images of the forest are printed on transparent duraclear and suspended in front of mirrors, recalling greenhouse windows or museum display cases—forms of mediation of nature.

The ‘garden’ is a metaphor that expresses Laurence’s view about the cosmos, in which all living creatures converge, engage and communicate through an intricate network. She regularly conceives individual works as part of a greater whole to mirror the interconnectivity of the natural world and of humanity’s place within its systems.

Janet Laurence

Conversations with Trees (detail)
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Janet Laurence

Conversations with Trees II, 2019
Photographic duraclear and dibond mirror
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Janet Laurence

Conversations with Trees IV, 2019
Photographic duraclear and dibond mirror
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Janet Laurence

Conversations with Trees
National Photography Prize 2022,
Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kate Mitchell: All Auras Touch

All Auras Touch is a snapshot of contemporary Australia revealed through the process of photographing human energy fields, otherwise known as auras. Taking the main occupation list from the Australian Census as the starting point, artist Kate Mitchell aimed to photograph the aura of one person for each of the 1,023 recognised occupations.

Using electromagnetic field imaging equipment, participants of All Auras Touch had their aura portrait taken by the artist, with 980 members of the public participating. Each aura portrait forms a vital component of the work, collectively creating an energetic snapshot of the Australian workforce.

The work was made during devastating bushfires, followed by floods and ended one week prior to the first Covid lockdown in Sydney. As things currently stand, this work would be challenging to make in the present circumstances and for the foreseeable future.

Kate Mitchell

All Auras Touch (detail), 2020-2022
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kate Mitchell

All Auras Touch (detail), 2020-2022
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kate Mitchell

All Auras Touch, 2020-2022
Fuji Instax Wide Film, 980 photographs
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kiron Robinson: Dribble, Leak, Suck, Slip, Skin, Peel, Pick

Dribble, Leak, Suck, Slip, Skin, Peel, Pick, is a series of images made through a variety of processes including: re-photography, scanning, using found images from personal archives, straight photography, and digitally manipulated photography. Each process is used to test the idea of the Photographic, asking what it is and how can the materials and understanding of them be bent to raise questions.

Eight of the images have small glass tubes inserted through the image, like devices designed to take a core sample of a body that does not exist beyond its surface.

This series is interested in what is seen and what is obscured, what is left out or lost in a photographic process – an idea of simultaneous obscuring and showing. I want to ask what exists beyond the surface. What can be seen through it being unseen?

Kiron Robinson

Eagle (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kiron in the National Photography Prize 2022

Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kiron Robinson

Dribble, Leak, Suck, Slip, Skin, Peel, Pick, 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Kiron Robinson

Dribble, Leak, Suck, Slip, Skin, Peel, Pick, 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Luke Parker and Kiron Robinson in the National Photography Prize 2022

Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Luke Parker: Atelier/atelier

This set of vertical panoramic photos document the Atelier Brancusi, a recreation of sculptor Constantin Brancusi's studio in Paris. Surrounded by a corridor, visitors look into each of the studio's four spaces through glass walls. I used a 1920s medium-format camera, inherited from my grandmother, to map the studio, attempting to capture: its three-dimensionality; the reflections and doublings that occur because of the glass, and the organic repetitions of forms that occur in Brancusi's sculptures.

To amplify this sense of spatial doubling and shifting, I exposed the negatives multiple times, with slight adjustments to the position of the camera. The visual refractions and complexities in the photos echo the experience of being in the Brancusi studio with its refracting views and repetition of forms.

Luke Parker

Atelier/atelier (detail),
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Luke Parker

Atelier/atelier (detail)
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Luke Parker

Atelier/atelier
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Robert Fielding: Miil-miilpa

"Many of my ancestors and ancestral lands have been captured by early photographers and anthropologists traversing our Country. I have come across them inshattered glass-plates, in blurred slides, in photocopied printouts, filed away in archival cabinets.

With this series of works I am appropriating techniques used by these photographers to reclaim the spirit and Tjukurpa (all-encompassing cultural law) of my ancestorsthat still live within this landscape.

These photos don’t only depict the landscape, they are the landscape. Much like my ancestors are still part of this landscape in spirit, the living landscape resounds within these images.

Using a UV-sensitive chemical process, I have worked with and have been informed by the elements. This process attempts to expose the relationship between viewer and landscape, Tjukurpa and Country. In some of the images the land speaks for itself, in others I have used stencils to emulate propaganda posters forcefully asserting the urgency with which we need to recognise: this land is sacred Manta (earth) is sacred. It holds our ancestors and will hold us one day. Manta miil-miilpa. These images mirror the living essence that is inside of us all."
-
Robert Fielding

Robert Fielding

Ngura Miil-miilmananyi (This is sacred), 2021
UV Print on cotton rag paper with aerosol paint alteration
Image courtesy of the artist and Mimili Maku Arts

Robert Fielding

Miil-miilpa, 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Robert Fielding

Miil-miilpa, 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Sara Oscar: My Body in Pieces - Body in My Pieces

My Body In Pieces / Body in my Pieces, is a photographic installation featuring five wall-mounted, annotated photographs and a freestanding photographic sculpture.

"In this installation, I have integrated ideas of my own body and history into photographs from my family archive. My father and uncle were bodybuilders in Mumbai in the 1960s: the photographs present them posing and flexing their torsos and legs for maximum muscle definition. They took up body building in India before their migration to Australia, inspired by Hollywood films and a belief that strong masculine physiques would aid in their integration into white Australia. In this work, I respond to this past, my limbs overlay flexing arm muscles and masculine bodies draped with the shiny Thai fabrics given to me by my mother."

-Sara Oscar

Sara Oscar

My Body In Pieces - Body in My Pieces (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Sara Oscar

My Body In Pieces - Body in My Pieces (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Sara Oscar

My Body In Pieces - Body in My Pieces (detail), 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Sara Oscar

My Body In Pieces - Body in My Pieces, 2021
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Tiyan Baker

These four photographic prints use images taken on Bidayǔh native lands in Sarawak, in rivers where Baker’s mother played as a child and on ancestral farm lands.

These images are autostereograms, also known as Magic Eye images, a nostalgic optical illusion technology that was very popular in the 1990s during the artist’s childhood. Embedded in these images are forgotten or rarely used Bidayǔh words that are about wandering, collecting and foraging.

Serian Bidayǔh language has hundreds of terms for activities that speak to a daily rhythm of moving through the jungle and working intimately with plant life. In current semi-Industrialised Bidayǔh society, these words are almost never used and have been left behind. These images are incantations to evoke the old knowledge these words hold. They suggest that if we learn to see the natural world in a slightly different way, we can access another way of knowing and moving.

Tiyan Baker in the National Photography Prize 2022

Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Tiyan Baker

nyatu' (to collect fallen fruit), 2021
Digital autostereogram photographs
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Tiyan Baker

maanǔn (found all over the place in plenty), 2021
Digital autostereogram photographs
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Tiyan Baker

mungut (to pick only the young buds), 2021
Digital autostereogram photographs
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch,

Tiyan Baker

bigabu (to walk through water), 2021
Digital autostereogram photographs
National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Tiyan Baker in the National Photography Prize 2022

Murray Art Museum Albury
Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

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