2016 Moran Prizes stage a mermaid show with a girl named Scarlett as the lead

The winners of the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize have been revealed.

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Sydney based artist Megan Seres has won the 2016 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for her work titled Scarlett as Colonial Girl, an enchanting painting of the artist’s daughter. Established in 1988, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is believed to be the world’s most generous portrait prize with a cash value of $150,000. It invites entries of original works from Australian artists, capturing Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from their own circle of experience.

Megan Seres, Scarlett as Colonial Girl

Perth based photographer Johannes Reinhart has won the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize with his photograph, Mermaid Show. Johannes takes home $50,000 for his image that features Michelle Smith as ‘Tina Tuna’ at Perth’s Fringe World Festival. The Prize invites entries that interpret ‘Contemporary Life in Australia’ with an emphasis on day-to-day life, and is open to Australian photographers of all ages, with special awards for students and their schools.

Johannes Reinhart, Mermaid Show

Student section prizes in the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize were awarded to Christine Drew from Canberra Girls High School, ACT (Year 11-12 category); Lachlan Starling from Bulli High School, NSW (Year 9-10 category); and Tess Poyner from Narooma High School, NSW (Year 7-8 category).

The judges of the 2016 Portrait Prize were renowned artist Anne Wallace, Greta Moran, Founder of the Moran Prizes and Art Historian and Gallery Director Doug Hall. The Portrait judges commented: “When we know the reason for creating this painting we understand a fuller emotional account of the portrait’s subtle force. Seres’s daughter Scarlett had been studying Colonial Australia at school, and was cast as the convict Mary Wade in a play. Women’s experience in Colonial times was already of interest for Seres, who, with Scarlett’s input, made the costume. 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 required of convict women and the gravity of their situation. 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.”

Judges for the Contemporary Photographic Prize were Jon Jones, Director of Photography at the Sunday Times Magazine in the UK and Alan Davies, Emeritus Curator of Photographs at the State Library of NSW. Jon Jones comments on Johannes Reinhart’s image: “It was a standout image, that was intriguing and thought provoking, with an almost painterly quality.”

An exhibition showcasing the works of the 30 finalists in the 2016 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the 30 finalists in the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photography Prize, as well as winning entries in the Student section of the Photography Prize, runs through to February 2017 at Juniper Hall, Paddington, Sydney.