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November 30, 2022

Do black boys go to heaven

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Wani Toaishara as the winner of the 2022 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award.

Contemporary cultural precinct HOTA, Home of the Arts, has announced Wani Toaishara as the winner of the 2022 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award.

One of Australia’s most significant awards for contemporary photographic practice, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award provides a national platform for emerging and established artists working in the broad medium of contemporary photography.

Wani Toaishara has been awarded the $25,000 acquisitive award, the richest prize for photography in Queensland, for his work Do black boys go to heaven. Toaishara’s practice, based in videography and performance, responds to African affairs and visual culture while interrogating dislocation for those on the margins. Recently incorporating photography into his practice, the winning work Do black boys go to heaven is informed by research into African archival material and deep dialogue with family and friends. Toaishara connects visual language and spoken word to explore identity, which is reinforced in the artist’s statement: ‘This is for that child, who was told that their strength was found in silence because speaking made them weak. For those bones so small that their gravestones outsized their casket. For all those tokens who’ve been called broken as they contemplate their suicide. We are worthy. Here. Still.’

Winning artist Wani Toaishara said that as a person whose primary form of art making is videography with a background in performance, specifically experimental theatre, photography is something he has always loved but only recently had the courage to start practising publicly and incorporating within his practice. ‘Winning this validates that choice and the courage it took to explore it. It’s a huge honour to even be selected amongst these incredible finalists, but an even bigger one to win the award.’

Wani Toaishara was announced as the winner from a finalist group of 40 works, selected from over 260 submissions, by Isobel Parker Philip, senior curator of Contemporary Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW).

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award I Captured, 20 Years

17 September 2022 – 8 January 2023

HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise.

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