In light of recent and ongoing gallery closures brought on by the COVID pandemic, Living Memory, the NPG’s 2021 National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition season will be extended until 16 January next year.
The NPPP is a stalwart of the National Portrait Gallery’s program, offering substantial cash and equipment prizes for professional, amateur and aspiring Australian photographers. For audiences, the exhibition offers an insight into the work of some of Australia’s best portrait photographers.
For the 2021 edition – named Living Memory to reflect the extraordinary events of late 2019-2020 which included widespread fires and a global pandemic – judges Nick Mitzevich (National Gallery of Australia Director), Karen Quinlan AM (NPG Director) and renowned Australian photographer Bill Henson selected 79 works, more than double the usual amount, as a way of acknowledging the impact the pandemic has had on the creative community.
Karen Quinlan said extending the exhibition into January 2022 will give more people the opportunity to view the artists’ works once lockdowns and travel restrictions are eased.
“Our original intention in making the exhibition larger and its season longer, was to support the artistic community during this difficult period, and the reality is many of the finalists have been unable to travel to Canberra to see their work on the gallery walls,” she said.
“The NPPP is always an audience favourite, and there are so many relevant, poignant and beautiful works in this edition that capture the darkness of recent times, as well as human resilience and strength.”
“We felt it was important for us to extend its season so more people can enjoy this life affirming exhibition,” said Ms Quinlan.
Sydney photographer Joel B.Pratley was announced the 2021 NPPP winner in a live-streamed event on 30 July for his portrait Drought Story of farmer David Kalisch in the midst of an unexpected dust storm.
The Highly Commended prize went to Julian Kingma for Tom at the drain, and Melbourne artist Kristina Kraskov’s portrait of Michelle the ‘suburban fashionista’ was awarded the Art Handlers Award in early August.
All works from Living Memory: National Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 can be viewed via www.portrait.gov.au/livingmemory. Audiences can also vote here for the $5,000 People’s Choice Award, supported by the David Roche Foundation, which will be announced in late October.
Image: Joel B.Pratley, Drought Story, 2020 – courtesy of National Portrait Gallery and the artist. © The artist