Artist and subject: Gora Odiel and Gabriel Hingley in front of the winning portrait.

Faces of Greater Dandenong celebrated at Seen

Artist and subject: Gora Odiel and Gabriel Hingley in front of the winning portrait.

Visit the Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre between now and June 17 and you’ll be moved by the faces and stories on display. 

The Seen exhibition celebrates our local community through portraiture, with entrants capturing the people who live, work and play in Greater Dandenong.

Prizes were offered across four categories, including a People’s Choice category which will be decided by exhibition visitors over the coming weeks.

Open Category
Winner: Gabriel Hingley, Gora, acrylic on canvas

The judges thought this was a very compelling portrait, and they loved the creativity, the considered use of lighting and the simple, but impactful and thoughtful background of the subject.

Highly commended: Andrew Duong, Aysha

Van Than Dat Dao, Spring on Mother’s Back

Secondary (School) Category
Winner: Tarika Wimalasuriya, Personality of Three

The judges were impressed with the level of technical skill, they appreciated the detail and were intrigued by the work. They admired the artist’s ability to capture the emotions of the subject.

Highly commended: Freshta Khairi, Self Portrait

Primary (School) Category
Winner: Fiona Zhou and Areyana Singh, Fiona

The judges found the work very striking and even though it is small, it is impactful. The judges were also impressed with the lighting and how it captured the emotion of the subject so well.

Highly commended: Chad Sun, Chad S

Faith Taulapapa, Mum

Open Category winner and artist Gabriel Hingley said he admires Gora Odiel and his family’s resilience who came to Australia to flee a war-torn country, South Sudan. 

“I’m pleased to be a part of the Seen portraiture prize and to feature my friend Gora. He and his family have been through a lot of hardship, but they have pulled through. Gora's father was an important leader of his tribe who was tragically killed in conflict in 1996. His photo portrait sits on the table in my painting.  Gora has continued his father's noble legacy of peacekeeping, working to bring different tribes together in harmony, both in South Sudan and here in Dandenong. 

“In sitting for the portrait Gora chose to wear a brightly patterned shirt in the African tradition.  The gold-rimmed coffee pot and cup symbolises the warm hospitality one always receives in a South Sudanese family home, especially at Gora's house. I am privileged to know someone like Gora and I believe his life is an inspiration to many people, whether African or Aussie, to seek reconciliation and peace in our communities.

“Gora is full of joy and positivity, a natural and well-respected leader and elder amongst the Anuak people in his community. He smiles whenever I see him, and has a dignified presence, so I wanted to capture that in a portrait,” said Gabriel. 

Gora, the subject of Gabriel’s winning portraiture said he was happy and excited to be painted by his pastor and friend. 

“I have lived in Greater Dandenong for 20 years and living locally has given me many opportunities. I am grateful and very proud to be here,” said Gora. 

Mayor, Cr Jim Memeti said: “Gora represents a great story where two people from different parts of the world have come together”.  

Seen was judged by esteemed industry professionals Zia Atahi, Alojz Babic and Esther Gyorki. 

Judge and artist Zia Atahi is an independent documentary photographer and abstract painter based in Melbourne, he was born in Ghazni, Afghanistan and came to Australia in 2005. He said there are so many talents in Greater Dandenong. 

“This exhibition is about the stories and faces of this city and I hope we can all learn something from their work,” Zia said. 

The Open Category winner took home a $4000 cash prize, while the winners of both the Secondary and Primary School categories won an art materials pack (valued at up to $1000) for themselves and their schools.

Proudly sponsored by The Drum Theatre, the Star News Group and Zart, view the Seen exhibition at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, corner Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong, until Friday 17 June.

Find out more here.