The 2023 National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) finalists have been announced, along with the Art Handler’s Award won by David Cossini for his image, Ugandan Ssebabi, 2022.
The NPPP is run by the National Portrait Gallery to support and celebrate Australian photographic portraiture, with the winning taking home $30K along with $20K worth of equipment from sponsor, Canon Australia. The overall winner and additional sub-category will be announced on June 16, at the opening of the NPPP Finalist exhibition.
Cossini’s image, Ugandan Ssebabi, 2022, is ‘set among the tough slums of Kyazanga’, the image description states, and ‘is a photographic tribute to the world’s greatest underdog’.
‘Godfrey Baguma, who was born with a rare and painful physical disability, was abandoned by his mother as a bringer of “bad luck”, and shunned by society. Through a chance encounter, he reinvented himself as an entertainer in a travelling show. Now 57, he has beaten the odds. While most people with his condition die by 40, he has found love, success and bought a house – a testament to human resilience and positivity.’
Cossini is currently in Uganda with the Baguma family, and he states ‘they are thrilled to know one of his photos will be exhibited at such a prestigious gallery’.
Art Handlers, Jessica Kemister and Jacob Potter, selected the image due to its ‘boldness’ in regards to both the subject matter and colours.
‘We found the image of Godfrey and the turkey so engaging and it immediately made us want to dive deeper into the story of the work. We enjoyed reading David Cossini’s words about Godfrey Baguma and learning about his life’s journey so far,’ the duo said. ‘This is a confident work of art: there is assurance in the composition, in the figures of Godfrey and the turkey and in the joyful palette of colours. Cossini’s composition cleverly positions Godfrey against the billowing sheets of coloured fabric in background in tones of pinks and reds, echoing this visual likeness in the red wattle and legs of the turkey with Godfrey’s suit. A single turquoise string creates a connection between the figures both visually and in reality. The colours, scale and visual contrast in the work really appealed to us.’
The finalists for 2023 are: Adam Ferguson, Anne Moffat, Bahram Mia, Ben McNamara, Brenda L. Croft, Bruce Agnew, Cassandra Scott-Finn, Charlie Bliss, Charlie Ford, Cindy Kavanagh, David Cossini, David Darcy, Dylan Le’Mon, Elliot Brown, Emma Armstrong-Porter, Forough Yavari, Franca Turrin, Francis Cloake, The Huxleys, Gerwyn Davies, Grace Costa, Isabella Melody Moore, Jacob Nash, Heidi Margocsy, Jacqueline Mitelman, James Bugg, Jay Hynes, Jimmy Widders Hunt, Jo Duck, Julian Kingma, Lily Hatten, Martine Perret, Meng-Yu Yan, Nathan Dyer, Renae Saxby, Renato Colangelo, Rohan Thomson, Sammaneh Pourshafighi, Sarah Depta, Sarah Enticknap, Sean Slattery, Shannon May Powell, Shea Kirk, Stuart Miller, Tajette O’Halloran and Teva Cosic.
Here is a selection of the 47 finalist images: