Olive Cotton Award open for entries – Opportunity for artists to look back on 2020

WORDS: Tweed Regional Gallery PHOTOGRAPHY

Tweed Regional Gallery’s prestigious Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture is open for entries.

Held biennially by the Gallery, entries are welcome from photographers resident in Australia, with both professional and emerging artists encouraged to submit portraits.

Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM said as the Award is acquisitive, it allows for new and notable works to be added to Tweed Regional Gallery’s collection of Australian portraits.

“We are very excited to open the prize up this year, allowing entrants to submit up to two works. We know this has been a really difficult period and that many artists have created new work during the pandemic. I think we may see a lot of self-portraits this time,” Ms Muddiman said.

“The major award of $20,000 is generously funded by the family of the late Olive Cotton, one of Australia’s leading 20th Century photographers.”

The Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc. sponsor additional acquisitions through the Director’s Choice awards to the value of $4,000.

The 2021 Award judge is Michael Cook, one of Australia’s most important photo media artists. A Brisbane-based artist of Bidjara heritage, Michael has worked in photography for more than 30 years.

Since transitioning from commercial to fine art photography in 2009 Michael’s work has been included in major exhibitions all over the world. His work is held in collections that include the British Museum, National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Tweed Regional Gallery.

Entries for the Olive Cotton Award close at 5pm on Sunday 2 May 2021.

To enter, and for further information, visit

The finalists will be displayed at the Gallery from 16 July to 19 September 2021. The announcement of the winners will be on Saturday 17 July.

Visitors can cast their own vote in the People’s Choice Award for the duration of the exhibition. The finalist with the most votes receives $250, donated by the Friends of the Gallery.

Photo captions:
1. Winner 2019 Olive Cotton Award, Belinda Mason, Taken 2019, lenticular, 66 x 100 cm. Collection of Tweed Regional Gallery, courtesy of the Artist
2. Director’s Choice Acquisition 2019, Petrina Hicks, Cleopatra 2019, pigment print 120 x 100cm. Courtesy of Michael Reid, Sydney and This is No Fantasy, Melbourne