2021 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture
The Olive Cotton Award is generously funded by the family of Olive Cotton, one of Australia’s leading 20th Century photographers, showing new portraits by professional and emerging artists.
The Olive Cotton Award, recognising excellence in photographic portraiture, is held biennially, with a major prize of $20,000. The 2021 Award will be the twelfth Award since the prize's inception in 2005.
The Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc. sponsor Director’s Choice awards to the value of $4,000. All awards are acquisitive, making the Olive Cotton Award an important collecting stream for the Tweed Regional Gallery’s collection of Australian portraits.
The 2021 Award judge was artist Michael Cook. Cook is one of Australia’s most significant photomedia artists. A Brisbane-based artist of Bidjara heritage, Cook has worked in photography for over 30 years.
A $250 People’s Choice Award will run throughout the exhibition allowing the public to vote for their favourite image. Voting closes Sunday 19 September 5 pm.
About the award
The Olive Cotton Award was launched in 2005, and is funded by Olive Cotton’s family and dedicated to her memory as one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers. The Award has grown and gained national recognition attracting entries from well-known and emerging photographers across Australia. The award boasts a major acquisitive biennial prize of $20,000, selected by the Award judge.
About Olive Cotton
Olive Cotton (1911-2003) discovered the art of photography in childhood and stayed committed to it all her life. Her mother was a talented painter who died young; her father, a geologist, had learnt the elements of photography for his journey to the Antarctic in 1907 and later taught it to his children.
Having graduated with an Arts degree, Olive Cotton worked successfully as a photographer at the Dupain studios in Sydney until the end of World War II, then moved with her new husband Ross McInerney, to the bush near Koorawatha, NSW. For 20 years she had no access to darkroom facilities, but kept taking photographs.
In 1964 Cotton opened a small studio in Cowra and took local portraits, weddings and commissions. After a 40 year absence from the city art scene she re-emerged in 1985 with her first solo show at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, she then concentrated on rediscovering and printing her life's work. A major exhibition of Cotton's works was shown at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000.