The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is a project by the Moran Arts Foundation, a philanthropic, not-for-profit organisation established to support the arts in Australia.
The Foundation was set up in 1988 to celebrate Australia’s bicentennial, by Doug and Greta Moran.
The Foundation acquired historic Juniper Hall in Paddington in 2013, which it uses as a permanent home for the Moran Arts Foundation Collection, and an exhibition space for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, and the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prizes.
Juniper Hall itself is part of Sydney’s history – it is believed to be the oldest surviving mansion from Governor Macquarie’s time. It was built by emancipated convict Robert Cooper in 1824 to fulfill a promise to give his third wife Sarah the ‘finest house in Sydney’. Looking at the mansion even today, we would venture to guess that he succeeded.
The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, now in its 27th year, continues to offer a much-needed forum for contemporary Australian artists.
This year the first prize was $150,000, and was won by Melbourne artist Warren Crossett for his ‘Self portrait after St Jerome Flanders’. The decision would have been incredibly difficult for the judges, given the usual high-caliber entries.
The contemporary photographic prize also attracts an impressive array of memorable, and often challenging submissions.
The subsequent exhibition at Juniper Hall displays all the finalists until Sunday, 14 February 2016, and it is a must visit event on Sydney’s art calendar.
The exhibition is also a great excuse to take a stroll along Oxford Street in Paddington. If you come on a Saturday, be sure to visit the fun-filled Paddington Markets, at the Paddington Uniting Church, which has been a Sydney institution since 1973.
ABC interview with Warren Crossett
My highlights from the 2014 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize: