Art Almanac - Finalists of the inaugural Still: National Still Life Award

The biennial ‘Still: National Still Life Award’ seeks to highlight the diversity and vitality of still life in Australian contemporary art practice, broadening the interpretation of this enduring genre. The award encourages artists from across Australia, at all stages of their careers, to explore still life themes through all mediums.

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery were “bowled over” by the number of submissions – receiving over 600 entries.

Richard Spoehr, Between Mind and Material, 2017, handmade porcelain, metal found object / group of 3D objects. Courtesy Stella Downer Fine Art, Sydney

Finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised Director of Lismore Regional Gallery Brett Adlington, Sydney art collector and former board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art Lisa Paulsen, along with Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery Coordinator Cath Fogarty and Curator Jo Besley.

The selected artworks include painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, glass, sculpture, video, printmaking and textiles.


Kellie Leczinska, Mortgage – Death Pledge, 2016, large format photograph printed on platinum. Courtesy Contact Sheet Gallery, Sydney

This year’s 63 finalists are: Tony Albert, Louise Allerton, Kelly Austin, Tanya Baily, Elie Begg, Annette Blair, Rene Bolten, Mechelle Bounpraseuth, Terri Butterworth, Fran Callen, Tom Carment, Angela Casey, Tiffany Cole, Karl de Waal, Trisha Dean, Mary Donnelly, Scott Duncan, Sarah Edmondson, Nicolette Eisdell, Merran Esson, Ben Fayle, Guy Gilmour, Sarah Goffman, Ronnie Grammatica, Linda Greedy, Colleen Greig-Canty, Vanessa Holle, Alana Hunt, Susan Jacobsen, Laura Jones, Helle Jorgensen, Paul Kalemba, Laura E. Kennedy, Myriam Kin-Yee, Zai Kuang, Michael Langley, Sam Leach, Kellie Leczinska, Alison Mackay, Josh Mackenzie, Kiata Mason, Julian Meagher, Robert Moore, Stephen Nothling, Susan O’Doherty, Sarah O’Sullivan, Sassy Park, Victoria Reichelt, Elvis Richardson, Damien Shen, Brendan Smith, Tim Snowdon, Richard Spoehr, Vipoo Srivilasa, Nathan Taylor, Samantha Thompson, Anselm van Rood, Prue Venables, Lilli Waters, Kati Watson, Greg Weight, Mirra Whale, and Cleo Wilkinson.

Still: National Still Life Award will be an acquisitive art prize of $20,000, with a new addition of a People’s Choice Award of $5,000. The award will be will be judged by Lisa Slade, Assistant Director Artistic Programmes at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The finalist exhibition will be on show at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery from 24 November 2017 to 18 January 2018, and will be accompanied by a public program called ‘Still: Contemplating Life’ which will include artists’ talks, workshops and a focus on mindfulness and meditation.

HER Magazine - An 'emotional wallop': The Canberra Symphony Orchestra's Australian Series

Jolene Laverty

War has changed immeasurably during the last century, and whilst some of changes are easily observed (like the advances in technology for example) others are more discreet.

The ways in which war is portrayed through art has undergone subtle yet significant changes; some of which will be heard and seen during the second performance of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Australian Series, which is held in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.

Moving ahead 100 years, several of the finalists in the National Portrait Gallery’s National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 show that the artist’s attention has moved from the steady focus on the soldier’s experience to include indirect participants of war who are equally affected by its consequences. For example, Kellie Leczinska’s portrait of young mother and refugee Kuei shows us a striking image of a woman whose life has been profoundly impacted by war. In her artist statement, Leczinska writes

Artists and musicians have long used war as the subject of their creations, but contemporary artistic expressions such as we see in the Portrait Gallery’s National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 show that the narrative has broadened from the experience of the soldier to include the stories of people who would otherwise remain hidden.

This Australian Series also features a newly commissioned work from composer Alice Humphries. In order to help shape the work, Humphries spent some time looking for themes that link the images on display in the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017. She describes her piece ‘About Light’ as being inspired by an element which is essential in photography.

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Photographer art prize finalist

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A SUDANESE born woman who was “left for dead” in a refugee camp is the subject of a remarkable portrait by Mosman photographer Kellie Leczinska.

Kellie Leczinska’s stunning portrait of Kuei.

The portrait of Kuei has been named as a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize now on show at the National Gallery in Canberra.

“I couldn’t believe such an elegant, beautiful woman had survived so much adversity,” said Leczinska.

She first met Kuei, who has built a new life in Australia with her Australian partner and their young son, on another photo shoot.

“I asked her about her life and her story emerged,” said Leczinska.

Kuie was born in northwestern South Sudan which has been afflicted by civil war for decades.

She survived famine, and outbreaks of diseases like typhoid and ebola in her village, and at age eight, was separated from her mother.

Kuei spent eight years in a refugee camp and says at one stage she was “left for dead”, before eventually emigrating to Australia.

The portrait was selected from more than 3000 portrait entries in the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

“I am so happy that this portrait has ignited interest in the subject of immigration and cultural l diversity in Australia, as do many of the portraits on show this year,” Leczinska said.

“Immigration stories are the DNA of Australia.”

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is on exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery until June 1.

The winner, announced last week, was Gary Grealy’s portrait of Richard Morecroft and artist Alison Mackay. An exhibition of Grealy’s portraits was staged at the Mosman Art Gallery in 2015.

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ABC article on the National Photographic Portrait Prize

ABC article on the National Photographic Portrait Prize

Excerpt from the ABC news article:

Kuei - The Sea of Gazelles - South Sudan to Oz by Kellie Maree Leczinska

This image of a woman who settled in Australia after fleeing civil war in South Sudan and spending eight years in a UN refugee camp happened almost by accident, photographer Kellie Maree Leczinska said.

"It wasn't planned — I actually photographed her for another body of work ... I started to photograph her and asked her a little bit about herself, and this story came out," she said.

"It was just an incredible story of this beautiful, elegant woman who has endured the most terrible situations.

"When we think of UN refugee camps we think it's going to be a place of sanctuary, but it's not like that at all."

Leczinska said she found the image resembled classic portraiture

"In some respects she looks like she's coming out of darkness," she said.

"I thought it had a bit of a Girl With a Pearl Earring look about it."

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