Winner of $20,000 Olive Cotton Award announced

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© Justine Varga. Maternal Line, 2017. Chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative, 160 x 125cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. $20,000 Winner, 2017 Olive Cotton Award, Tweed Regional Gallery Collection.
© Justine Varga. Maternal Line, 2017. Chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative, 160 x 125cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. $20,000 Winner, 2017 Olive Cotton Award, Tweed Regional Gallery Collection.

The 2017 Olive Cotton Award Winner, Director’s Choice Acquisition, and Highly Commended awards were announced last night at Tweed Regional Gallery by the 2017 Award Judge Dr Shaune Lakin, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia.

The winner of the 2017 award, of $20,000, was Sydney-based Justine Varga of Sydney. Varga’s portrait passes into the Tweed Regional Gallery collection, through the terms of this acquisitive prize.

Lakin highlighted the portrait of her grandmother, Maternal Line 2017, as the stand-out winner. “While Justine’s work is very contemporary, she’s also deeply interested in the history of photography," Lakin said. "It’s a very complex photographic portrait: it made me think a lot about the act of the making a portrait – about what it means today to make a photograph of someone else, even if in the end it doesn’t reveal what they look like. But photography has never just been about appearance. It’s also been part of the way that we experience things like memory and relationships. The image – a series of scrawls made by the artist’s grandmother directly onto a piece of film – has been printed at monumental scale. It’s a very moving portrait of the artist’s relationship with and love for her grandmother.”

Lakin's Highly Commended list

  •  Anne Zahalka from Sydney - The Papapetrou Family  2017, dye sublimation on chromalux metal – a theatrical and highly constructed portrait of celebrated photographer Polixeni Papapetrou, The Age art critic Robert Nelson, their children Solomon and Olympia and their rescue greyhounds, Lexi and Mille.
  • Warwick Baker from Melbourne - Jed & Sam  2016, Type-C print – an intimate and moving double portrait taken in the couple’s bedroom.
  • Tina Fiveash from Sydney - Ghost  2017  digital print – a compelling and thought provoking image of a woman in a beach or desert location.
  • Polixeni Papapetrou from Melbourne - My ghost  2017, screen print on gold metallic foil and linen – a haunting, poignant and beautiful portrait of the artist’s daughter Olympia.
  • Rod McNicol from Melbourne – Timmily  2017, digital print – a striking portrait in McNicol’s ongoing documentary of the ‘variegated’ inhabitants of his home in inner city Melbourne.
© Anne Zahalka. The Papapetrou Family, 2017. Dye sublimation on Chromalux metal, 80 x 80cm. Courtesy of ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award. Director’s Choice acquisition, 2017 Olive Cotton Award
Tweed Regional Gallery Collection.
© Anne Zahalka. The Papapetrou Family, 2017. Dye sublimation on Chromalux metal, 80 x 80cm. Courtesy of ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award. Director’s Choice acquisition, 2017 Olive Cotton Award Tweed Regional Gallery Collection.

Tweed Regional Gallery also acquired theThe Papapetrou Family by Anne Zahalka for the Permanent Collection, as the Director’s Choice Award, through funds from the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc.

© Polixeni Papapetrou. My ghost, 2017. Screen print on gold metallic foil and linen, 100 x 100cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Polixeni Papapetrou. My ghost, 2017. Screen print on gold metallic foil and linen, 100 x 100cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.

The Olive Cotton Award can be viewed Wednesday to Sunday 10.00am–5.00pm at the Tweed Regional Gallery, 2 Mistral Road, Murwillumbah South NSW 248 until Sunday, 8 October.  Visitors may vote in the $250 People’s Choice Awards which will go the artist voted most popular.

© Warwick Baker. Jed & Sam, 2016. Type-C print, 55 x 75cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Warwick Baker. Jed & Sam, 2016. Type-C print, 55 x 75cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Tina Fiveash. Ghost, 2017. Digital print, 94 x 126cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Tina Fiveash. Ghost, 2017. Digital print, 94 x 126cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Rod McNicol. Timmily, 2017. Digital print, 100 x 80cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.
© Rod McNicol. Timmily, 2017. Digital print, 100 x 80cm. Judge’s High Commendation, 2017 Olive Cotton Award.