The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award is one of the most important annual surveys of contemporary Australian photographic practice.
Established photographers are showcased alongside emerging, resulting in a stunning reflection of contemporary practice that examines diverse themes and approaches. This highly anticipated award, with a total $30 000 in prizes and acquisitions (first prize is $20, 000), is a highlight of Gold Coast City Gallery’s exhibition program.
Gold Coast City Gallery is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2015 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award is Sydney-based artist Owen Leong for his work Mudra. Leong receives $20,000 in prize money and his work is acquired for the City Collection.
The judge Natalie King commented:
‘Since 2002, The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award has become a signature art prize on the art calendar roster and I am delighted to have the honour to shortlist and select a winner for acquisition for the Gold Coast City Gallery Collection. It’s a testament to the prize that previous winners including Polixeni Papapetrou, Darren Sylvester and David Stephenson have re-entered, demonstrating an ongoing engagement with the award and the high calibre of artists’ submissions. I was mesmerised by their work and many other worthy photographers.
After considerable deliberation, I have chosen Owen Leong as the winner. His photograph, Mudra (2014), engages with contemporary self-portraiture alongside notions of disguise, erasure and hidden selves. Dressed in a hoodie, the artist’s face is obliterated by shards of prismatic mineral that forms a mirror-mask, questioning how we might apprehend the inner self through photography. Moreover, Leong is holding a cast of his own hands suggestive of the role of artist as maker, gesturing in the form of a Hindu mudra or grasping at spiritual language. This complex photograph references Leong’s Chinese heritage while signalling a deeper connection with contemporary preoccupations with costume portraiture.’