Paula Mahoney has been named as winner of the inaugural Wai Tang Commissioning Award, a new initiative of the MGA Foundation as part of the 2022 Bowness Photography Prize.

Paula Mahonay: ‘Jump on through (to the other side) 2021’ from the series Dis/appear II; pigment ink-jet print 160.0 x 107.0 cm; courtesy of the artist.

The Wai Tang Commissioning Award commemorates Wai Tang, who served on MGA’s Committee of Management from 2018 until she passed away in 2020. It has been established by her husband, Kee Wong, to recognise and honour her significant impact on the arts and preserve her legacy within MGA’s collection and exhibition history. Paula Mahoney was chosen from four artists who contributed to the 2021 Bowness Photography Prize by MGA Director, Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Foundation Chair and previous MGA Director, Kallie Blauhorn and Kee Wong.

Mahoney holds a PhD at Monash University, Using photography as an analogy in the experience of death and mourning, and has taken up residencies in Alice Springs, Mauritania and Queenstown. Her work represents an ongoing examination of death and personal loss using performative photography and portraiture, frequently of herself, daughter, niece and sisters wearing clothes of dead loved ones. She received two Highly Commended in the prestigious Olive Cotton Award and has been a finalist in many major art prizes in Australia and abroad. Her work is held in public and private collections in Australia, and in private collections in the UK and the USA. An exhibition of her work will appear at the gallery between 29 September and 13 November.