Olive Cotton Award 2011

by lee

The Olive Cotton Award is now a biennial prize held by the Tweed River Art Gallery in Lismore. Olive Cotton (1911-2003) discovered the art of photography in childhood and stayed committed to it all her life. Her mother was a talented painter who died young; her father, a geologist, had learnt the elements of photography for his journey to the Antarctic in 1907 and later taught it to his children.

Having graduated with an Arts degree, Olive Cotton worked successfully as a photographer at the Dupain studios in Sydney until the end of World War 2, then moved with her new husband Ross McInerney, to the bush near Koorawatha, NSW. For 20 years she had no access to darkroom facilities, but kept taking photographs.

In 1964 Cotton opened a small studio in Cowra and took local portraits, weddings and commissions. After a 40 year absence from the city art scene she re-emerged in 1985 with her first solo show at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, she then concentrated on rediscovering and printing her life’s work.

Several artists previously featured on Light Journeys have been listed as finalists this year. They are: Tamara Dean, Samantha Everton, Lee Grant, Angela Tarlinton and Vikky Wilkes. The exhibition will run from June 3rd to July 31st with the winner announced on 4th June at the exhibition opening.

The Sleeper by Olive CottonĀ (courtesy Olive Cotton Estate and Josef Lebovic Gallery)