Dylan Mooney Wins Brisbane Portrait Prize 2023

Dylan Mooney Wins Brisbane Portrait Prize 2023
Image: Dylan Mooney's 'Still Thriving' won the Brisbane Portrait Prize 2023. Images: N. Smith Gallery.

Redlands-based artist Dylan Mooney took the top award at the Brisbane Portrait Prize 2023. Mooney’s work Still Thriving, a double portrait of Mooney and his friend Sam Ramsey, won the $50,000 Lord Mayor’s Prize. 

Mooney, a Yuwi, Meriam, South Sea Islander artist, who is legally blind, took to social media to share the news about the win. 

“So excited to let y’all know I have been awarded the 2023 Brisbane Portrait Prize for my work ‘Still Thriving’,” Mooney posted on Instagram. 

“The Brisbane Portrait Prize celebrates Brisbane artists and their sitters, with the winning work entering the Brisbane City Council Collection. A huge congratulations to all the finalists and other winners.”

Sydney World Pride Mural


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Mooney’s Still Thriving was showcased as a large mural at Kings Cross during Sydney World Pride. 

According to N Smith Gallery, which represents Mooney, Still Thriving, “focuses on love in queer communities. Its subjects stand proudly and defiantly, gazing out at the viewer. Identity, desire, and representation are brought together to promote discussions of art that include acknowledgment of works created by members of groups that have often been overlooked or under-represented in the broader art world, deftly illustrating issues affecting the queer community’s lived experience in ways that are poignant and very much of our moment.”

Power Of Love

Suzanne Cotter, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, judged the works and said she was drawn to Dylan’s work.

“It depicts two people who are embracing; are they friends, lovers, or brothers? Does it matter? It’s an embrace which speaks of love, closeness and warmth,” said Cotter. 

“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.”

Cotter said Mooney’s painting spoke about “personal experience and the power of love”.

” Their embrace is very intimate. And while it fills you with warmth, it also speaks of a determination which is an affirmation of presence, identity, and self-representation,” added Cotter.

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