Bowness Prize

William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

9 September 2021 to 5 December 2021

On behalf of the MGA Foundation we are thrilled to announce that Melbourne artist, Lillian O'Neil, has won the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize. The winning work has been awarded $30 000 and will be acquired into MGA’s nationally significant collection of Australian photographs.

Over the last 16 years, the Bowness Photography Prize has emerged as an important annual survey of contemporary photographic practice in Australia and one of the most prestigious prizes in the country. MGA invited artists to submit still photo-based media including analogue and digital photography created over the last year for consideration.

After lengthy deliberation, the judging panel (Del Kathryn Barton. Anouska Phizacklea and Karen Quinlan AM) commended the work of three additional finalists: Colour Factory Honourable Mentions have been awarded to Lauren Bamford for her intimate and odd diptych titled ‘Easter egg hunt and Dot's apple (2021), to Shea Kirk for his compelling and raw double portrait ‘Dina Scintilla (left and right view)’ (2021) and to Ali Tahayori for his altered family archive photograph that speaks to an undisclosed trauma in ‘Sisterhood’ (2021).

The Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award will be voted by the public with the recipient receiving $5 000.

2021 finalists:
Leith Alexander, Svetlana Bailey, Kate Ballis, Lauren Bamford, Gabrielle Bates, Tom Blachford, Paul Blackmore, Christophe Canato, Danica Chappell, Benjamin Cole, Nici Cumpston, Tamara Dean, Marian Drew, Jo Duck, Liss Fenwick, Silvi Glattauer, Richard Glover, Rebecca Griffiths, Joanne Handley, Jesse Harvey, Ponch Hawkes, Joseph Häxan, Petrina Hicks, Edi Ivancic, Angelique Joy, Tony Kearney, Ingvar Kenne, Shea Kirk, Honey Long and Prue Stent, Paula Mahoney, Harry McAlpine, Joseph McGlennon, Rod McNicol, Danie Mellor, Hayley Millar Baker, Mark Mohell, Lillian O'Neil, Meredith O'Shea, Ashley Perry, Patrick Pound, Ruiqi Qiu, Tonina Ryan, Amber Schmidt, Jessica Schwientek, Christopher Sheils, Melissa Spiccia, Ali Tahayori, Christian Thompson, Angela Tiatia, James Tylor, Justine Varga, Amy Woodward


Award announcement
Thursday 11 November 2021

Exhibition partner

Exhibition supporters

UPDATE 29 October 2021: MGA will re-open on Wednesday 3 November 2021 with COVIDSafe measures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors to the site. Learn more here.

UPDATE 9 September 2021: MGA is temporarily closed in line with government restrictions, once restrictions have eased we will announce an opening date for this exhibition.

Current Exhibitions

  • Leave only footprints
  • About face: are you a boy or a girl?

Upcoming Exhibitions

  • Develop
  • 100 faces: the Harris, Rosenthal and MGA collections

Past Exhibitions

Atrium Gallery

  • Exulansis
  • Atrium Gallery – information

Travelling Exhibitions

  • Forevermore
  • The Tucker portraits
  • The light fades but the gods remain | Bill Henson
  • Robyn Stacey: as still as life

Bowness Prize

  • William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2019 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2018 William & Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2017 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2016 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2015 Bowness Photography Prize
  • 2014 Bowness Photography Prize
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