Debra Phillips wins MAMA National Photography Prize 2020


Debra Phillips has won the 2020 Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) National Photography Prize. The Sydney-based artist took out the biennial acquisitive prize with her series The Good. The Just. The Beautiful and was awarded $30,000.

Phillips was chosen from a field of 12 finalists (Anthea Behm, Danica Chappell, Elise Harmsen, Ali McCann, Hayley Millar-Baker, Kent Morris, Sarah Mosca, Phuong Ngo, Lillian O’Neil, Emma Phillips, Debra Phillips, and Justine Varga) who were selected by senior curator of contemporary Australian art at AGNSW Isobel Parker Philip, MAMA curator Michael Moran, and Amanda Williams who won the prize in 2018.

The National Photography Prize 2020 was judgedby Elias Redstone, artistic director of PHOTO 2021.

The Good. The Just. The Beautiful is a response to Phillips’s visit to the National Metrology Institute of Germany where she observed the processes of manufacturing a perfect silicon sphere as part of Avogadro Project. The Avogadro Project aims to define a new standard definition for the kilogram based on data instead of on a physical object, as was done in the past.

Redstone said of the winning work, “The Good. The Just. The Beautiful is incredibly compelling; it is passionate about the subject matter and the role photography plays in the world today. This photographic project looks at how knowledge systems are used in the world and how they are shifting from a physical world to a digital one. This is a beautiful study of understanding how we come to control the world through measurements and how that can be visualised in a photographic project.”

Bree Pickering, director of MAMA added, “This series exemplifies both the technical precision and conceptual depth of Debra’s practice. She is an extraordinary artist and we are thrilled to acquire these works into the MAMA collection.”

Hayley Millar-Baker received the John and Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship for an emerging artist and $5,000 for her work, A Series of Unwarranted Events, 2018.

Hailey Millar-Baker, installation view.

Works by all 12 finalists in the National Photography Prize 2020 can be seen in a virtual tour online, or in person when MAMA reopens on 1 June.

National Photography Prize 2020
Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA)
21 February – 14 June

Please note that Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) will be open from 1 June. With public safety in mind, physical distancing, limits to the number of people in the gallery and hygiene measures will be in place.

News Words by Art Guide Australia