Megan Seres has taken out top honours at this year’s Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with a painting of her daughter.

The recipients of the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize have been announced at Juniper Hall in Paddington, Sydney. The winner of the 2016 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is Sydney based artist Megan Seres for Scarlett as Colonial Girl, while Perth based photographer Johannes Reinhart has been awarded the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photographic prize for Mermaid Show.

Megan Seres’s prize-winning portrait Scarlett as Colonial Girl. Photo courtesy of the Moran Foundation

Established in 1988, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is thought to be the world’s most substantial portraiture prize. Megan Seres received $150,000 prize money for her arresting portrait of her daughter Scarlett. The competition invites entries of original works from Australian artists, capturing people from all walks of life.

In response to her win, Seres stated “I’m so overwhelmed. I think what the Moran Foundation does is it brings absolute joy to so many artists. For an artist like myself to be able to walk into a space where there are so many quiet works that ask you to really be still and ask you [to] look at the works is wonderful and I don’t think we see that very often anymore when we walk into galleries.”

The judges of the 2016 Portrait Prize were acclaimed artist Anne Wallace, Greta Moran, Founder of the Moran Prizes, and Gallery Director Doug Hall. The portrait judges noted: “When we know the reason for creating this painting we understand a fuller emotional account of the portrait’s subtle force. Seres’s daughter Scarlett had been studying Colonial Australia at school, and was cast as the convict Mary Wade in a play. Women’s experience in Colonial times was already of interest for Seres, who, with Scarlett’s input, made the costume. The resulting painting reflects not only the close relationship of the two, and an awareness of the vulnerability of the young, but also conveys the forbearance required of convict women and the gravity of their situation. It is a work which stands alone as an idea which is deeply personal, yet able to embrace history and cast it into a contemporary realm.”

Johannes Reinhart’s prize-winning photograph Mermaid Show. Photo courtesy of the Moran Foundation

Reinhart, a finalist of the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize in 2015, won this year’s competition with his photograph of Michelle Smith as ‘Tina Tuna’ at Perth’s Fringe World Festival. He has been awarded $50,000.

Founded in 2007, the Prize invites entries that interpret the theme of contemporary life in Australia, with an emphasis on daily life. The judges of this year’s Photographic Prize were Jon Jones, Director of Photography at the Sunday Times Magazine in the UK and Alan Davies, Emeritus Curator of Photographs at the State Library of New South Wales. Of Reinhart’s photo, Jon Jones commented: “it was a standout image, that was intriguing and thought provoking, with an almost painterly quality.”

The 2016 Moran Art Prizes exhibition will open to the public on Thursday 27 October. The exhibition showcases the works of the 30 finalists in the 2016 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the 30 finalists in the 2016 Moran Contemporary Photography Prize. Winning entries in the student section of the Photography Prize will also be on display.