Wai Tang Commissioning Award
MGA and the MGA Foundation are proud to introduce the inaugural Wai Tang Commissioning Award. The Wai Tang Commissioning Award is a new initiative of the MGA Foundation as part of the 2022 Bowness Photography Prize. Paula Mahoney is the first artist who has been selected from the 2021 Bowness Photography Prize to be awarded the $10,000 commission. Her exhibition will coincide with the 2022 Bowness Photography Prize exhibition with one work entering 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. Tang’s expertise included more than 30 years of experience in the retail and wholesale manufacturing industries where she held senior executive roles and non-executive directors’ roles in public and private companies. Her commitment to the visual and performing arts was demonstrated through her leadership roles and philanthropic support. The Wai Tang Commissioning Award has been established by her husband, Kee Wong, to recognise and honour her significant impact on the arts and preserve her legacy within MGA’s collection and exhibition history.
In 2018, to accompany the Bowness Photography Prize exhibition, MGA launched an annual exhibition series to showcase and explore the practice of a past finalist. This initiative provided MGA with the opportunity to support, profile and champion past Bowness Photography Prize finalists and invites audiences to delve into their practice in more detail. The Wai Tang Commissioning Award enables the continuation and development of this initiative with a three year commitment to award a commissioning fee to a selected artist.
MGA’s curatorial team nominated four artists from the 2021 Bowness Photography Prize to be considered for the Wai Tang Commissioning Award. The final selection committee comprised MGA Director, Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Foundation Chair and previous MGA Director, Kallie Blauhorn and Kee Wong.
The Wai Tang Commissioning Award has been granted to artist Janelle Low to present an exhibition of work at MGA in 2023. 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.’