Sydney based artist Megan Seres has been announced as the winner of the $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for an emotive and haunting portrait of her daughter, titled Scarlett as Colonial Girl.
Chosen from 30 finalists, Seres’s award-winning portrait is an oil painting of her daughter Scarlett re-imagined as a young girl in colonial Australia. The piece stems from the artist’s interest in the experience of women and children in colonial times and explores themes of ownership, oppression, beauty, memory, displacement and isolation.
The judging panel for this year’s award included artist Anne Wallace, founder of the Moran prizes Greta Moran, and art historian and gallery director Doug Hall.
The judges commented on the fact that Seres had made the costume featured in the painting with assistance from her daughter. “The resulting painting reflects not only the close relationship of the two, and an awareness of the vulnerability of the young, but also conveys the forbearance of convict women and the gravity of the situation” the judges commented.
“…It is a work which stands alone as an idea which is deeply personal, yet able to embrace history and cast it into a contemporary realm”.
Established in 1988, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize encourages excellence and creativity in contemporary Australian portraiture by asking artists to interpret the look and personality of a chosen sitter, either unknown or well known.
Previous winners of the prize have included Warren Crossett, Louise Hearman and Nigel Milsom.
A further prize winner announced today included Perth based photographer Johannes Reinhart, who took out the $50,000 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for his painterly-style photograph Mermaid Show.
Part of a street photography project titled Crazy World, the photograph was motivated by the artist’s urge to explain the many strange and unexpected situations encountered on a daily basis.
Student section prizes in the Moran Contemporary Prize were also awarded to Christine Drew from Canberra Girls High School, ACT (Year 11 to 12 category); Lachlan Starling from Bulli High School, NSW (Year 9 to 10 category); and Tess Poyner from Narooma High School, NSW (Year 7 to 8 category).
An exhibition of work by all 2016 Moran Prizes finalists is being held at Juniper Hall in Sydney from Thursday 27 October until February 2017.
The 2016 Moran Art Prizes
Juniper Hall, Sydney
27 October – February 2017