Diana Warnes, Head of Curatorial Projects, discusses how we’re building the Gallery collection of contemporary Australian photography:
‘The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award is a vital platform for photographers of all levels of experience to showcase their work. In its seventeenth year, the Award honours the legacy of Win Schubert AO, whose cultural vision and love of contemporary art informs the philosophy of building the Gallery at HOTA photography collection. While each year there is always a winner of the Award, there is also the opportunity for Gallery at HOTA to acquire other photographs entered.
‘In addition to acquiring the winner, Tamara Dean’s Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) in Autumn, four photographs were acquired from this year’s Award. This includes Abdul Abdullah’s Delegated risk management from the Weddings series 2017. In this wedding – a ritual understood across cultures – a bride and groom sit in a garishly lit, floral-decorated room, each wearing a balaclava. In using this motif, Abdullah describes how “the actions and beliefs of an individual is often irrelevant to how they are perceived if they belong to or are perceived to belong to a marginalised minority”.
‘Tony Albert, David C Collins and Kieran Smythe-Jackson collaborated to produce Warakurna Superheroes #5, showing an Indigenous kid dressed up wearing found materials, and acting out the actions of a favourite superhero. This series of photograph shows children empowered kids to dream and achieve big as they grow up. Honey Long and Prue Stent also work in collaboration, as with Salt Pool where a nude female figure is clad in a decorative fabric, laying almost camouflaged in a pink salt pan. Their photograph is a performative, graceful exploration of the female form in nature.
‘Realtree #4 by Kai Wasikowski is a response to the natural world threatened by global warming. His photograph is also a complex printing process, which involves a printing method called hydrographics, a technique commonly used for printing on weapons or cars. Realtree #4 incorporates vistas from New Zealand, and Wasikowski imposes on the scene with synthetic plants and lasers. This is a post-human ecology, showing instead the resilience of natural and technological ecosystems.
‘Through these Award acquisitions, Gallery at HOTA has quietly been amassing a fulsome collection of photographs that represents contemporary practice and developments in Australian photography since 2002. Thematically and technologically, each photographer has pushed the boundaries of the medium. When the new HOTA Gallery opens in 2021, these photographs from the start of the new century to now, will be showcased,’ she said.
Abdul Abdullah. Delegated risk management from the Weddings series 2017, archival print. Courtesy the artist and Yavuz Gallery.
Tony Albert, David C Collins and Kieran Smythe-Jackson. Warakurna Superheroes #5 2017,archival pigment print on paper.
Tamara Dean. Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) in Autumn from the series In our Nature 2017
inkjet print. Courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary
Honey Long and Prue Stent. Salt Pool 2018, archival pigment print. Courtesy the artists and Arc One Gallery
Kai Wasikowski. Realtree #4 2018, inkjet print. Courtesy the artist.