Building Community12 Apr 2019

Elizabeth Looker wins the Art Handlers’ Award

The National Portrait Gallery has announced photographer Elizabeth Looker is the winner of this years “Art Handlers'” award.

A-calm-so-deep-screengrab
‘A calm so deep’ by Elizabeth Looker, winner of the 2019 Art Handlers’ award Photo Credit: Elizabeth Looker.

Perth photographer Elizabeth Looker has won the highly coveted Art Handlers’ Award for this year’s National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Ms Looker was awarded the prize for her portrait ‘A calm so deep,’ which was created as part of her 2018 Minderoo-supported artist-in-residency at Konstepidemin, one of the largest independent artist workplaces in Sweden.

Considered amongst 39 other finalists , the art handlers had a tough decision to make, but in a joint statement they announced they were equally drawn to Ms Looker’s portrait:

“This work is deeply sincere and open. The golden glow emitted from the fabric of the dress and skin of the subject seems to speak of the ethereal – the inexplicable ‘self’. The sitter’s stance is powerful, but her expression is suggestive of vulnerability. The overall effect is a strong connection to the sitter and a sense of her truth.”

As part of its diverse arts and culture portfolio, Minderoo was proud to support the development of Ms Looker’s practise as she devised a new collection overseas. Working with dancers from the GoteborgOperans Danskompani, Ms Looker collated an innovative selection of photographs, as part of her exhibition ‘The Spirit and The Flesh.’

Artist’s statement:
“Dorotea asked if she could participate in the photographic study I have been working on for exhibition, The Spirit and the Flesh, capturing the energy and spirit within my subjects. She was so ready to ‘see’ herself, and to show herself to me. Open and honest, adventurous in self-exploration, she was vulnerable with her words and free in her movement”.

Ms Looker says her interest when photographing Dorotea was to understand and capture not the physical, but the spiritual – how a person feels rather than how they look.

“When I see this image I can’t help but close my eyes with Dorotea. It’s ironic that a photograph inspires me not to look, but it just allows me to breathe and to feel connected to her inner world, and then my own.”

Announced in February, The overall winner for the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 was Alana Holmberg for her portrait Greta In Her Kitchen, 36 weeks. The highly commended award was won by Alex Vaughan for Sumbawa Pride – Life on a Boat With Eleven Kids.RW


Ella McNeill
by Ella McNeill
Ella McNeill is the Partnership Manager of Minderoo’s Arts and Culture portfolio, overseeing Minderoo’s investments and relationships with these partners. Ella has extensive experience in the not for profit arts sector in Australia and overseas, working across international arts festivals, film, and arts for social change organisations. Ella holds a BA in Arts Management from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
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