Story of courage wins Bowness photography prize - Art Collector

Lee Grant, Mary with her daughters Aja and Adau, and her granddaughter Nankir [New Australians: Sudanese migrants in suburbia series], 2009. Pigment ink-jet print, 60 x 60cm. courtesy: the artist

28 September 2010 | Canberra-based photographer Lee Grant has won this year’s $25,000 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize with a formal portrait of a Sudanese migrant family in their Canberra home.

The work forms part of a series that looks at the lives of Sudanese settling into Australia.

“In making this portrait of my new neighbours, I hope to find some measure of understanding that transcends culture and language and that I can share with my fellow Australians for the present and into the future,” says Grant of her hopes for the work.

“Throughout the process of photographing, I heard many stories as to how and why they’d arrived here. As a mother with my own family, I find it impossible not to be moved. Stories of immense courage and sacrifice but also of hope for a brighter future in Australia.”

The work was selected from a field of 473 entrants by a judging panel including photographer Max Pam and Monash Gallery of Art director Shaune Lakin.

Lakin praised the work for its sophistication: “It seems a simple study of an African family in their living room. But then the picture starts to unwind: you start to note its extraordinary details and complex interplay of textures and patterning. So it is a commanding photograph.”

The William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize exhibition runs until 24 October 2010 at the Monash Gallery of Art.


Jane O'Sullivan


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