JANELLE LOW: Wai Tang Commissioning Award Recipient


Congratulations Janelle!

The Wai Tang Commissioning Award has been established by Wai Tang’s husband, Kee Wong, to recognise and honour her significant impact on the arts and preserve her legacy within MGA’s collection and exhibition history. The $10,000 award will contribute meaningful assistance for an artist to present an exhibition that will coincide with the 2023 Bowness Photography Prize exhibition season, with one work acquired into MGA’s significant collection of Australian photographs in honour of Wai Tang’s legacy.

Wai Tang served on MGA’s Committee of Management from 2018 until she passed away in 2020. Her expertise included more than 30 years of experience in the retail and wholesale manufacturing industries where she held senior executive roles and non Executive Director's role in public and private companies. Her commitment to the visual and performing arts was demonstrated through her leadership roles and philanthropic support.

Janelle Low states that her work in the Bowness Photography Prize ‘belongs to an ongoing series exploring familial ties, cultural loss and the nature of memory. Reworking archival family photographs, the processes used oscillate between taking control and letting go of control to evoke a sense of intimacy while simultaneously embodying distance as well. Side by side the works create a ‘family album’ of sorts, and reflect upon the space between my cultural heritage, Western upbringing and deeply rooted feelings of filial piety.’

Low has exhibited nationally and internationally and her works are held in both public and private collections. In 2013 she became the second female and youngest winner of the National Photographic Portrait Prize presented by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, and was selected as a finalist in the Bowness Photography Prize in both 2017 and again in 2022. Low is represented by THIS IS NO FANTASY (Naarm/Melbourne) where she launched her second solo show in 2021.

‘The Wai Tang Commissioning Award enters its second year and we can see from the attention received in 2022 what an impact the award can have in deepening audiences engagement with shortlisted Bowness Photography Prize artists. We recognise the difference a solo show can have on an artist’s career and we are looking forward to seeing what Janelle Low has in store for us.'

— Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director

‘I am honoured to be selected for the Wai Tang Commissioning Award. This opportunity has come at what feels like a significant point in my practice and I am grateful and excited for this opportunity to realise a body of work I’ve been thinking about for a long time.’

Janelle Low

'I am delighted to continue to support Wai's passion for supporting an emerging artist in photography through the commissioning award in her name.'

— Kee Wong