Artist Dylan Mooney wins Brisbane Portrait Prize

Artist Dylan Mooney won Brisbane Portrait Prize
Image: Dylan Mooney via Brisbane Portrait Prize

Redlands-based queer artist Dylan Mooney has won the 2023 Brisbane Portrait Prize.

The First Nations artist was one of more than 80 local finalists in this year’s competition. On Tuesday night Dylan was named the winner of the Lord Mayor’s Prize of $50,000.

Dylan’s winning portrait, titled Still Thriving, depicts the artist and his friend Sam in an embrace.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia director Suzanne Cotter judged the 2023 competition. She described Dylan’s Still Thriving as a “beautiful and very empowered work.”

“This portrait… immediately captivates because of its scale and subject matter. It depicts two people who are embracing; are they friends, lovers, or brothers? Does it matter?” she said.

“It’s an embrace which speaks of love, closeness, and warmth.

“The painting speaks of personal experience and the power of love.

“While it fills you with warmth, it also speaks of a determination which is an affirmation of presence, identity, and self-representation.”


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A post shared by Dylan (@dylanmooney__)

Dylan Mooney announced as winner of Lord Mayor’s Prize

Dylan Mooney is a proud queer Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man from Mackay, North Queensland.

He works across various mediums including painting, printmaking, digital illustration and drawing. The artists works in digital in part because he is legally blind.

“Drawing and printmaking can be difficult on my eyes because I can’t focus that much and I get migraines,” Dylan explains.

“But with technology, I can zoom in as much as I want to really get that detail.”

Dylan’s prize, along with seven other winners, were announced at Brisbane Powerhouse this week.

Eighty-four shortlisted portraits, all with a connection to Brisbane, are on display until October 29.

Mural and exhibition during Sydney WorldPride

Dylan Mooney has had numerous solo exhibitions and major institutions have acquired his striking artwork.

Earlier this year, a 40-metre mural by Dylan Mooney on the side of a Darlinghurst building celebrated Sydney WorldPride (pictured below).


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A post shared by Dylan (@dylanmooney__)

Dylan told QNews last year, “My Mum actually enrolled me in an art class outside of school, which is where I first learned how to do portraits using charcoal and graphite.”

The artist later moved to the city and studied a Bachelor of Contemporary Indigenous Art.

“My studies really helped me to create a lot of connections within the arts industry,” he said.

“Being able to meet other established Indigenous artists such as Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Vernon Ah Kee, Gordon Hookey – hearing their stories and learning about their art really inspired me.

“Getting to pursue this career has been almost like a dream.”

Dylan Mooney’s Still Thriving and the other Brisbane Portrait Prize finalists are free to view at the Brisbane Powerhouse until October 29.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Michael Reid
    4 October 2023

    I am upstanding & applauding Dylan with this magnificent artwork he has been presenting to us for a good handful of years now. I have seen mostly in publications like QNews (I think/ hope DNA has been another). And saw a bit of a gallery I think during MELT a few years ago at the Powerhouse, which was a treat to see closer & larger than life sized. We can be thankful & proud. Where we can highlight healthy & joyful, positive & honestly real representations of diversity of people in our community. These can be found & pointed out to for all to celebrate, appreciate & adore with very little effort, when quality is this brilliant. If Australia Post ever did a young artist feature in new stamps, (providing Dylan was happy with this). Master Dylan’s are worthy of their own Special Edition set. Bravo! You did well Sir!

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