Polixeni Papapetrou who has won the 2017 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize. Papapetrou took out the $30,000 award with a photo of a young woman bedecked with flowers from her Eden series, titled Delphi, 2016.
This year the judges (educator Susan Fereday, architect and collector Corbett Lyon, and Stephen Zagala, senior curator at the Monash Gallery of Art) selected 59 finalists from 897 entries, the largest number yet received in the history of the prize.
“Papapetrou’s portrait of Delphi captures the complex vitality of late adolescence,” said Stephen Zagala of the winning work. “Emerging from a tableau of blooms, which metaphorically evoke the cycle of life and death, this young woman seems to be both brimming with potential and delicately embedded in her environment.”
Papapetrou practiced law for 15 years before becoming an artist. She said that winning the Bowness Photography Prize filled her with both pride and gratitude. She described the accolade as a “great honour”.
Discussing her Eden series the artist said, “The seasons of growth, blossoming and wilting are visibly illustrated in the life cycle of the flower which also highlights our mortality. In this world of flowers and girls, budding, blossoming, eventually consigned to wilting, culture folds itself upon nature in a floral embrace that cancels the gloom of inevitable mortality in this miraculous thing we call life.”
Del Kathryn Barton, Danica Chappell and Jenny Pollak received honourable mentions.
The Bowness Photography Prize became acquisitive for the first time this year, so Papapetrou’s winning work will become part of the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) collection. The prize was started in 2006 by the MGA Foundation.
Previous winners include Art Guide’s own Jesse Marlow, as well as Jacky Redgate, Pat Brassington and Petrina Hicks.
Works by all 59 finalists are on show until 26 November.
William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize Exhibition
Monash Gallery of Art
14 Oct – 26 November