Nigel Milsom, a Sydney convenience store thief, got a $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Wednesday, Oct. 23. He didn't steal it. He won it fair and square for his portrait, "Uncle Paddy."
Talented painter Milsom is currently in jail after being caught holding up a Sydney convenience store. He was unable to claim the $150,000 prize. His representative, Kerry Crowley, who is from the Yuill Crowley Gallery in Sydney, collected the prize money o his behalf.
"He would be thrilled of his winning, " Crowley said.
The competition judges were acclaimed art historian and art-museum curator Daniel Thomas, AM and artist Ben Quilty.
Thomas, who is well-respected in Australia as an art expert said he didn't mind giving the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize of $150,000 to a prison inmate because Milsom made a beautiful portrait worthy of the recognition. He also thought it would have a positive effect on the prisoner.
"Even someone who has gotten into some state of punishment for whatever he did could come good," he said.
"So that's how I reconciled myself with Milsom getting that money," he added.
Milsom seems to be a fan of Cubism, an early 20th century visual art style created by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, between 1907 and 1914 in Paris, France. He used a similar technique to execute his painting, "Uncle Paddy," which was evident in his paintbrush strokes.
Finalists of the Australian art competition were asked to describe their submissions when they entered their artworks.
Milsom reportedly described his portrait as Paddy, a friend of his grandfather whom he fondly calls Uncle, even if they were not exactly related.
According to him, Paddy was one of the few people who attended his grandfather's funeral, even if he was not a family member.
"There is a quiet sadness about Paddy that seems to stem from the realization that death will be visiting him soon too," Milsom said.
"When I painted his portrait I got a sense that he has learnt to sit with this feeling of sadness, which has given him a greater strength and wisdom," he noted.
John Janson-Moore, a photographer and filmmaker, was also awarded $50,000 for winning the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for his entry "Nyirripi Girl with Finger."
The Moran Arts Foundation has been supporting Australian artists and photographers for 25 years now. Each year, a worthy winner is chosen and awarded with prizes, including cash awards.
The Moran Prizes Exhibition will be open to the public for free starting Oct. 24. Dr. Edmund Capon will led the opening of the exhibit at the Juniper Hall on 250 Oxford Street in Paddington, New South Wales.
To see Nigel Milsom's winning portrait titled "Uncle Paddy," click here.
Take a look at the other finalists of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. (Click here)
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