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    Gone fishing

    The judges’ votes have been cast and they’ve caught a winner hook, line and sinker.

    National Photographic Portraiture Prize Winner
    Gone fishing Image:  National Photographic Portrait Prize winner Rob Palmer with his work, ‘The mahi-mahi’. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia © 2022

    Annually for the past 14 years, the National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) exhibition has been showcasing a range of portraits chosen from a national selection of entries from Australia’s aspiring and professional photographers.

    Over the years, winning portraits have ranged from that of actor, Indigenous elder and activist, Jack Charles, to a photographer’s depiction of the tranquillity in her pregnant sister’s transition into motherhood and her trust in the future.

    This year, photographer Rob Palmer took out the top spot with his portrait of Chef Josh Niland. The breathtaking work, titled ‘The mahi-mahi’, captures Josh sizing up this incredible fish, before he sets to work.

    Rob Palmer said in his artist statement that Josh Niland, head chef and owner of Saint Peter restaurant, is reinventing what can be done with fish, and – most importantly – with every part of the fish, in a huge effort to drastically reduce wastage.

    His trailblazing work has received enormous praise from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson.

    - Rob Palmer, artist statement

    A quick Google search shows that ‘Mahi-mahi’ is the Hawaiian name for the stunning aquatic creature. Furthermore, one of the foundations of Hawaiian culture is the importance of caring for the environment. The synergy between the origins of the mahi-mahi and Chef Josh Niland’s own values around sustainability captured in the photograph is quite remarkable.

    Displayed alongside Chef and his mahi-mahi on the walls of Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery are a range of other incredible NPPP 2020 entries, including Hugh Stewart’s ‘Eileen Kramer is a dancer’, which received this year’s Highly Commended Award, and the 2020 Art Handler’s Award recipient - Shea Kirk’s Gemma Baxter.

    Yet to be decided, however, is the winner of this year’s prestigious People’s Choice Award, for which voting is now open, until 26 April 2020. To select your catch of the day, head on over to the National Portrait Gallery website.

    Posted March 26, 2020

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