Doug Moran Prize Winner 2008 – Fiona Lowry

Another notable portrait prize in Australia has announced their winners for 2008. The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize winner was Fiona Lowry for her naked self portrait “What I Assume You Shall Assume”

The 34 year old first time entrant Fiona Lowry received $100,000 for her winning entry. The Doug Moran portrait prize is Australia’s richest portrait prize and now has a total prize pool of $210,000.

While the prize money is twice that of the Archibald prize, it just doesn’t seem to get as much love from the mainstream media. Perhaps they need a few controversies to get the media talking. Controversy seems to work for the Archibald prize.

Doug Moran Prize Winning Painting

The photographer Belinda Mason won the $50,000 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize with her photograph titled “Four Generations”

Two of the most well known portrait prizes in Australia have been won with self portraits by female artists in 2008, with Del Kathryn Barton winning the Archibald prize.

The Doug Moran prize finalists will be on display at the New South Wales State Library in Sydney until the 4th of May.

I liked the winning portrait by Fiona Lowry, but I thought I should choose my own winner from the 2008 Moran finalists here. It’s a portrait by Nigel Milsom. It ticks a few of the boxes that get me excited about a painting; It looks like a painting (I can see paint!), it creates an emotional response in me, it’s simple, uncomplicated, and a little meloncholy.

Doug Moran Prize Finalist Nigel Milsom
Untitled (The Incubating Period) by Nigel Milsom

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. “It looks like a painting (I can see paint!), it creates an emotional response in me, it’s simple, uncomplicated, and a little meloncholy.”

    Yes, it does look like a painting! I think you hit the nail on the head here with the above words.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I dont like the winner or ur pick. Looks like she needs a shave.

  3. Groan!

  4. Anonymous, I first thought that you must have meant the guy needed a shave.. then I realised it was the woman that you meant!

    Ian, I thought the Doug Moran prize might make you groan ;-)

  5. oh we love to make you groan coxsoft LOL! I liked Dion’s choice also, there is an ambiguity about it and the paint texture appeals to me. However there is a another one that I liked that I suspect wouldn’t make you groan so! Can you guess which one?

  6. I think the winner’s painting is stunning. Your pick, is a little to similar to Marlene Dumas paintings. I do like it but I feel they are a little too close. I’m going to go see if I can find more work by Fiona Lowry.

  7. posted my website with the wrong address….I’m an idiot

  8. Corrine, was your choice the female profile by Claire Busuttil Bridge?

    It’s a nice portrait that would appeal to a lot of different people.. and it would be hard to “groan” about it.

  9. Simon, when you add your url, make sure the http:// is included also, otherwise the address comes out looking like this..

    I didnt think of the Dumas connection but I can see it now. It’s hard to like a painting when it looks like someone else could have painted it, which is strange because most art produced today is just regurgitation.

    Also I didnt link to anything on Fiona Lowry online as I couldnt find much. She doesn’t seem to have a website (which is a big mistake for an artist!).


  10. LOL Dion, spot on, it was Claire Busuttil Bridge. From a technical angle it is brilliant, and I love the pose.

  11. Something about it reminded me of your portrait of your daughter Corrine, so I thought it might be your pick ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the winning painting just decorative. What a shame when there were several really powerful works in the exhibition. I too liked Nigel Milsoms self portait, also Seth Birchall and Jun Cheng. But the most original and stunning painting in my opinion was Godfrey Blow’s self portrait. Superb!

  13. I’ve just seen another competition, this one has been set up by Art Market Blog:

    Thought I’d share :)

  14. Thanks Helly

    It would probably motivate more artists to enter if there was some kind of cash prize though. I would feel like more of a “star artist” if my pockets were filled with

    Just my opinion of course.


  15. Anonymous says:

    I entered and was chosen as a finalist and was really shocked by the “highly recommended” section bar a few. There were 2 portraits not chosen that I really think deserved to win. it seems that anyone who has a clever and possibly controversial description ( and a long enough one) comes off as being special and interesting. to me, some descriptions were almost like some kind of justification to make a fairly ordinary artwork “interesting”. much like a lot of installation art.
    when is somebody really going to wow us instead of art becoming an exercise in intellectual snobbery. boring.


  1. […] of the architect Penelope Seidler. She has been hung in the Archibald twice previously and won the Doug Moran Prize in 2008. I don’t dislike the painting, but it’s definitely not the painting I would have picked […]

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