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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Living Memory – National Photographic Portrait Prize extended to January 2022

6 September 2021

In light of recent and ongoing gallery closures brought on by the COVID pandemic, the NPG’s 2021 National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition season will be extended until 16 January next year.

The NPPP is a stalwart of the National Portrait Gallery’s program, offering substantial cash and equipment prizes for professional, amateur and aspiring Australian photographers. For audiences, the exhibition offers an insight into the work of some of Australia’s best portrait photographers.

For the 2021 edition - named Living Memory to reflect the extraordinary events of late 2019-2020 which included widespread fires and a global pandemic - judges Nick Mitzevich (National Gallery of Australia Director), Karen Quinlan AM (NPG Director) and renowned Australian photographer Bill Henson selected 79 works, more than double the usual amount, as a way of acknowledging the impact the pandemic has had on the creative community.  

Karen Quinlan said extending the exhibition into January 2022 will give more people the opportunity to view the artists’ works once lockdowns and travel restrictions are eased.

“Our original intention in making the exhibition larger and its season longer, was to support the artistic community during this difficult period, and the reality is many of the finalists have been unable to travel to Canberra to see their work on the gallery walls.

“The NPPP is always an audience favourite, and there are so many relevant, poignant and beautiful works in this edition that capture the darkness of recent times, as well as human resilience and strength.  We felt it was important for us to extend its season so more people can enjoy this life affirming exhibition,” Ms Quinlan said.

Sydney photographer Joel B.Pratley was announced the 2021 NPPP winner in a live-streamed event on 30 July for his portrait Drought Story of farmer David Kalisch in the midst of an unexpected dust storm. The Highly Commended prize went to Julian Kingma for Tom at the drain, and Melbourne artist Kristina Kraskov’s portrait of Michelle the ‘suburban fashionista’ was awarded the Art Handlers Award in early August.

All works from Living Memory: National Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 can be viewed via www.portrait.gov.au/livingmemory.  Audiences can also vote here for the $5,000 People’s Choice Award, supported by the David Roche Foundation, which will be announced in late October.

The NPG is temporarily closed but will reopen when lockdown restrictions in Canberra are lifted, in accordance with government health advice.

Related information

Drought story, 2020 Joel B. Pratley
Drought story, 2020 Joel B. Pratley
Drought story, 2020 Joel B. Pratley
Drought story, 2020 Joel B. Pratley

Living Memory

National Photographic Portrait Prize

Current exhibition

Currently closed

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

Portrait of Minika, 2013 by Grace Costa
Portrait of Minika, 2013 by Grace Costa
Portrait of Minika, 2013 by Grace Costa
Portrait of Minika, 2013 by Grace Costa

Portrait Photography - How to Pose Everyday People

with Grace Costa: Photographic Artist

1:00pm, Sat 15 Jan

Join photographer Grace Costa in the Gallery as she shares practical portrait-posing skills for beginner or mid-career photographers.

© Forough Yavari
© Forough Yavari
© Forough Yavari
© Forough Yavari

Fine art portraiture: from concept to execution

with Forough Yavari

10:30am, Sat 5 Feb

Join award-winning photographer Forough Yavari on a journey to learn how to create intricate, gallery-style fine art portraits from scratch.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

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