Belinda Mason’s Taken has won the $20,000 overall prize for the 2019 Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.

‘Taken’, the winning portrait in the 2019 Olive Cotton Award. © Belinda Mason.

This year’s competition was judged by Marian Drew, one of Australia’s most influential and significant photo-media artists and her choice was influenced by the photographic object and its ability to engage the viewer with its subject. She also Highly Commended works by Brett Moffatt, Dave Carswell, Michael Corridore and Sam Scoufos. Belinda Mason is a multi-award winning photographer who is based in Sydney. She is Creative Director of Blus Projects, which produces multi-media exhibitions that provide ‘insight into the lived experience of people who are impacted by multiple discriminations or disadvantage’. The ‘Taken’ image is a 3D holographic lenticular print, that creates an illusion of depth when viewed from different angles.

‘Cleopatra’ by Petrina Hicks was selected as the 2019 Director’s Choice. © Petrina Hicks.

Petrina Hick’s Cleopatra was acquired for the Gallery’s collection with Director, Susi Muddiman OAM, awarding it the 2019 Director’s Choice. Ms Muddiman described Hick’s work as “provocative, mysterious, suggestive and a little eerie”.

A strong showing of 432 entries were received this year for the biennial award, which is funded by Olive Cotton’s family in memory of Cotton, who was one of Australia’s leading 20th century photographers. Visitors to the exhibition can cast their own vote in the People’s Choice Award for the duration of the exhibition. The exhibitor with the most votes receives $250, donated by the Friends of the Gallery.  A full list of finalists is available on the Gallery’s website. The Olive Cotton Award exhibition will run until Sunday 22 September. The Gallery is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Entry to view the exhibition is free.