Brisbane-based art photographer Sangeeta Mahajan has taken out the $20,000 2021 Clayton Utz Art Award with her photographic print titled January 26.

Award judge Carol McGregor observed in the work “layers of considerate meaning and the emphasis of ongoing generational trauma”, which “provokes discussion about the recognition of the dispossession and the changes that have happened over the last 251 years”. Artworks like this start conversations we all need to have – respectful and thoughtful and that it is everyone that needs to reflect on our combined future,” she said.

Carol also awarded Highly Commended accolades to several artists, noting that their works “stood out for their story telling and mastering of their mediums”.

Lori Pensini, We of the Wandoo II (also the winner of The People’s Choice Prize) : “It is emotional – and a story of resilience signified in the stylised Wandoo Eucalypt tree.” 

Pepijn Thijsse, Conversations : “A raw image that draws you in immediately – almost voyeuristically – to stare at the connections between these people”.

Marlies Oakley, Thinking Inside the Box Part IV (A Story of 2020) : “This work is engrossing”.

Lyn Bartolo, Salty : “a delight to ponder over”.

Lindy Sale, Late Afternoon : “Extraordinary given the small scale of the work”.

Ashlee Becks, Checked Out : “instantaneously radiated in the space”.

Clayton Utz Brisbane partner-in-charge Scott Sharry thanked all entrants for participating in this year’s Award and showcasing their rich creative talents. “As a firm, we’re passionate about supporting the arts, and the Clayton Utz Art Award is one way we can show that support. It’s always a highlight for our people and clients to be able to enjoy the finalists’ work in our reception area and meeting rooms, and engage in conversations about it – which our guests at our Award function last Thursday night certainly did in good measure.”

Now in its 14th year, the Clayton Utz Art Award is an initiative to encourage, reward and promote artists with a Queensland base or connection to Queensland, coordinated and managed by Brett Lethbridge and Lethbridge Gallery.

Readers also enjoyed our story about Sunshine Coast Art Prize