Featured image- Peter Moran, Megan Seres, Scarlett Seres, Anne Wallace and Peter Moran. Image by Ben Apfelbaum.

The winners of the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize were announced at in a function held at Paddington’s Juniper Hall and emceed by Richard Morecroft.

Sydney based artist Megan Seres took out the National Portrait Prize for her work entitled Scarlett as Colonial Girl. Seres received prize money of $150,000, thought to be the world’s most generous portraiture prize for her outstanding portrait of her daughter Scarlett.

Scarlett as a Colonial Girl by Megan Seres

The judges for this Prize were renowned artist Anne Wallace, Greta Moran, Founder of the Moran Prizes and Art Historian and Gallery Director Doug Hall. The judges commented,  ‘When we know the reason for creating this painting we understand  a fuller account of the portrait’s subtle force. Seres’s daughter Scarlett had been studying Colonial Australia at school, and in a school play was cast as the convict Mary Wade,

‘Women’s experience in Colonial times was already of interest for Seres who, with Scarlett’s input, made the costume which Scarlett wore. The resulting painting reflects not only the close mother and daughter relationship  but also conveys the forbearance required of convict women and the gravity of their situation. It is a work which stands out as an idea which is deeply personal,  yet is also to embrace history and  cast it into a contemporary realm.’

Johannes Reinhart's Tina Tuna
Johannes Reinhart’s Tina Tuna

Perth based photographer Johannes Reinhart took out the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for his photograph Mermaid Show. The award winning photo captures an image of performance artist Michelle Smith in her show Tina Tuna  which was performed during Perth’s Fringe World Festival. Reinhart, who received a cheque for $50,000, told the gathering how great it was to be paid for what he loves doing, and that every year he takes thousands of photos and that only a few of them come out as he had hoped and that Mermaid Show was one of those occasions.

The judges for this year’s award were Jon Jones, Director of Photography at the Sunday Times Magazine in the UK, and Alan Davies, Emeritus Curator of  Photographs at the State Library of New South Wales. Jon Jones said of Reinhart’s image, ‘This was a stand-out image, that was intriguing and thought provoking with an almost painterly quality.’

Student section prizes in the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize were awarded to Christine Drew from Canberra Girls High School (Year 11-12 category), Lachlan Sterling from Bulli High School (Year 9-10 Category) and Tess Palmer from Narooma High School (Year 7-8 category).

The 2016 Moran Art Prizes exhibition opened to the public at 10 am on Thursday 27 October. The exhibition showcases the works of the 30 finalists in the Portrait Prize and the 30 finalists in the Contemporary Photography Prize, as well as the winning entries in the Student section of the Photography Prize.

The exhibition will run at Juniper Hall until February 2017.