A double portrait of himself and friend Sam Ramsey entitled Still Thriving has won Thorneside artist Dylan Mooney the $50,000 Lord Mayor’s Prize in the Brisbane Portrait Exhibition.
Gallery representative Nicholas Smith described the work as completely joyful.
“Dylan has lived his experience. He is legally blind, and represents First Nations, Torres Strait and South Sea islanders amongst other things,” he said.
“His work is beautiful and joyful. He’s not surviving, he’s thriving.”
Mr Smith said it was this quality that made Dylan such a unique artist and what he believes won him the award on what is Dylan’s first-time entry in the exhibition.
“This is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This is an incredible embrace,” he said.
The work is described by Chief Judge and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Suzanne Cotter as “an embrace which speaks of love, closeness and warmth”.
“Dylan’s portrait is a work which immediately captures your attention,” Ms Cotter said.
“It depicts two people who are embracing. Are they friends, lovers, brothers? Does it matter? It’s an embrace which speaks of love, closeness and warmth.
“Dylan’s Yuwi (Mackay) and Torres Strait Islander (Meriam Nation) background are central to this work.
“The flesh colours and the colours of the wattle flowers used are the ochres of the Yuwi region, materials that connect the artist and the subjects to country, to community and to culture.”
Mr Mooney said it was an honour to be awarded the Lord Mayor’s Prize.
“To be shown with so many other amazing artists from Brisbane is a blessing,” he said.
“There are so many wonderful portraits here in this year’s prize, so to be chosen as the winner is truly special.”