Winner Ulrick Photography Award 2015

Owen Leong

28 Mar - 31 May 2015

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.’