Moreton Bay Region Art Prize - 2023 winners

First prize

All Aboard in Margate Parade

Jamie Congdon

Artist statement: I claim to be an emerging practice right now is on a path I want it to be on... my world is what interests me... it’s what I think all art should be about, and that is what makes art speak truth... whatever the word “truth” actually means... I think good art should reveal its maker... although it’s tricky because that doesn't necessarily mean the artist doesn't have to depict himself in the work... still the artist personality should be in the work...

I try to paint my world. I think there should be more images of us in cars... yet there are very few if any... particularly self-portraits... although it may be argued this is not a portrait but actually a car scene... others may argue it’s a picture of me in my taxi...

Judge's note: It is impossible not to lose yourself in ‘All Aboard in Margate Parade’. As a painting, the surface is seductive and hypnotic, Jamie’s sophisticated application of paint creates a surface that is almost sculptural. His inspired and adventurous use of perspective leaves you questioning whether the work is a portrait, a suburban landscape, a complex narrative, a fleeting daily snapshot or an intimate diary entry. Somehow it is both all of these things and none of them. The sheer scale of the work evidences Jamie’s commitment to painting, and his ambition for the medium. Creating a harmonious, captivating and unctuous work at this scale is no small feat. The image itself speaks volumes – a figure at once reflective and ‘at work’ – capturing with beauty and sensitivity that intensely relatable scene. Sitting in the driver’s seat, between destinations, simultaneously in motion and painfully still.

Second prize

The Interruption

Tayla Anahera Shanti Mishra

Artist statement: As a Maori-Indian portrait artist, I'm Tayla Mishra, an amateur who has an immense fascination for capturing the essence and individuality of people's faces. Since I moved to North Brisbane as a teenager, I've been honing my skills, aiming to express the unique features of my subjects in a realistic and emotive way.

This is my sister. Her unwavering gaze embodies her role as the "interruption" in our bloodline. She stands against the normalized disfunction and alcoholism that's plagued countless other families. Drawing on the Maori's famed Haka "war dance", her cultural attire and expression symbolize her readiness to confront our family's history.

Judge's note: ‘The Interruption’ is one of those rare portraits that looks right back at you, with an intimate, caring, defiant and intensely curious gaze. Tayla’s use of paint shows a sophistication and technical skill that would normally take years to master – and armed with those skills, she has been able to capture her sister in all of her strength, her glory and her power. The work has a deep humanity and dignity to it that will no doubt grab the attention and curiosity of any viewer. It is exciting to consider the career this young artist has ahead of her.

Third prize

Ladies Home Journal #3

Amanda Ivy Gardner

Artist statement: Amanda is a visual artist exploring how the elements of design interact to communicate complex and compelling ideas and imagery.  In a thoughtful and meditative process Amanda creates collages with simple tools and found papers.  She is committed to developing an environmentally sustainable practice using recycled, plastic-free and organic materials.

This collage was created from a 1929 women’s magazine designed for the ‘aspirational’ female.  It’s papers were deteriorating, very fragile, the colours muted and aged.  Deconstructing the magazine stripped away all messaging of the era yet somehow it prevailed and the memory of early 20th century idealised femininity lingers. 

Judge's note: A delicate and captivating work, this collage playfully references modernism through both a domestic and a highly personal lens. ‘Ladies Home Journal #3’ is subtle and thoughtful, and shows a complex and nuanced understanding of materiality. The modest scale and dynamic composition leave the viewer with a sense of warmth and wonder, while calling to mind all too familiar scenes – an early morning cup of tea, breakfast with a loved one, a silent moment of reflection before the day begins.

People's choice award

The Keepsake 2023

Donna Hawkins

Artist statementEarly detection of breast cancer is the key to survival. Life can, and does, go on. Although our appearance changes, nothing can remove the essence of our being. We can honour and preserve our memory of what was, whilst also being grateful for our excellent healthcare and new life.

Artwork credit: Painted work with sculptural assemblage (acrylic paint; ink; found objects; family heirlooms; plaster cast by Kelvin Hawley used with consent). 

Guest judge

Sam Cranstoun is the judge for 2023.  Sam completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from QUT. His practice traverses a variety of mediums, including sculpture, painting, drawing, watercolour, and video. Represented by Milani Gallery in Brisbane, his artwork is held in several collections across the country. Sam currently lectures in painting at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane and this year will present a ten-year survey of his work at the University of Sunshine Coast Art Gallery.