Sydney artist’s winning portrait features daughter dressed as child convict Mary Wade, while Perth photographer Johannes Reinart wins photo award
Sydney-based artist Megan Seres has won this year’s $150,000 Doug Moran portrait prize for a painting of her daughter, Scarlett. The winning portrait features Scarlett Seres dressed as convict Mary Wade, in a costume she and her mother made together for a school play. Judges Greta Moran, artist Anne Wallace, and gallery director Doug Hall said they felt the painting reflected the close relationship of other and daughter, as well as “an awareness of the vulnerability of the young” and “the forbearance required of convict women”. “It is subtle, it’s withheld, it’s beautiful, it’s ambiguous and we were overwhelmed by it,” Hall said.
Seres burst into tears when her name was read out. “I’m totally unprepared, I’m so overwhelmed. I’m not sure I’m going to do this very well,” she told the crowd during her acceptance speech. Mary Wade was only 11 years old when she was transported from England to New South Wales on board a vessel in the second fleet in 1789.
The annual portrait prize is the richest of its kind in Australia. This year’s shortlist featured portraits of footballer Adam Goodes, artist Rick Amor, and surfer Mick Fanning. The prize was announced this morning in Paddington, Sydney, along with the winner of the $50,000 Moran contemporary photographic prize, awarded to Johannes Reinhart from Perth for his photograph Mermaid Show. The photo features Michelle Smith as “Tina Tuna” at Perth’s fringe world festival.
The winning entries and the finalists are on display at Juniper Hall in Paddington until February.
Stephanie Convery The Guardian 26 October 2016