Queer Artists win 2017 MELT Festival Portrait Prize

melt festival portrait prize queer artists brisbane powerhouse kenn santyos lesley turnbull
Photo: Brisbane Powerhouse

Lesley Turnbull and Kenn Santos are announced as the winners of the 2017 MELT Festival’s Portrait Prize.

Lesley Turnbull

Scottish-Australian artist Lesley Turnbull took out the Judge’s Prize with Throw Like a Girl: The Tomboy Project.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a tomboy is “a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys, a girl who behaves like a spirited or boisterous boy.”

Lesley said her work “investigates the concept of the Tomboy and its under-representation, post-adolescence in contemporary art photography, film and popular western culture.

“Popular western culture represents largely stable notions of a determined gender identity that positions the tomboy identity as tolerable, but only during childhood.”

She explained her “Tomboy Project” widens the focus of the “tomboy” behind childhood and adolescence into adulthood and old age in a series of portraits.

Kenn Santos

The People’s Choice Award went to Brisbane artist Kenn Santos’ portrait, “Pretty Hurts”. The artwork received the most likes – over 700 – on the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Facebook page.

Kenn said the portrait (pictured, right), featuring Brisbane drag queen Miss Poodle, looks behind the colourful facade of rainbow flags and glitter bombs to a sombre history of pain and anguish.

“It symbolises both the triumphs and the struggles that the LGBTI+ community has faced through the decades and how together, it creates a bittersweet representation of this ongoing battle for equality and freedom,” he explained.

“The life we lead as members of the LGBTI+ community is far from easy. Recent global events prove that bigotry and hatred loom around every corner. However, if anything, we are a family full of strength, optimism, and resilience.

“The happiness and bond we share, along with our straight allies, help us lift each other up and make all the hurtful things worth it.”

MELT Festival celebrates queer arts in Brisbane

The MELT Portrait Prize was created last year to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTI community.

More than a dozen artists’ works depicting their LGBTI heroes have been on display at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

The MELT Festival is the Powerhouse’s annual celebration of queer arts and culture. It showcases local, interstate and international actors, rock star singers, dancers, photographers, illustrators, comedians and circus artists.

The festival runs until Sunday at the Brisbane Powerhouse, with tickets available for this weekend’s events available from their website.

Other Melt Portrait Prize Winners

2016: Atong Atem.

2018: Louan Walker.

2019: Dan Molloy.

2021: Pat Hall.

For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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

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