Michael Christofas named finalist in prestigious Percival Photographic Portrait Prize

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Michael Christofas has been named finalist in North Queensland’s prestigious Percival Photographic Portrait Prize for his work, Portrait of Voula (2022).

Also named finalist in the category is fellow Australian of Greek heritage, Sam Scoufos for his 2024 work Self-Portrait in Water.

Having begun in 2007, The Percivals (which include the Photographic Portrait Prize, the Portrait Painting Prize, and the Animal Portrait Prize), is an open competition for artists.

While showcasing the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by Australian artists, the competitions have also allowed many emerging artists to engage with portraiture and share their expressions of themselves and those close to them.

Michael Christofas
Michael Christofas.

The Greek Herald spoke with Mr Christofas after finalists for The Percivals were announced and he expressed his joy at the honour.

“I’ve been involved in solo and group exhibitions, however this is the first time I’ll be a finalist in such an important portrait prize. It’s a privilege to see my work being exhibited alongside other artists from across the country,” Mr Christofas said.

His selected photographic entry Portrait of Voula (2022) features artist Voula Manousaki from Heraklion, Crete. Voula is one of the most acclaimed hagiographers throughout Greece and globally.

“She is in her late seventies and still a practising artist. Her icons hang in galleries, churches and private collections throughout the world,” Mr Christofas explained.

Voula Manousaki of Heraklion, Crete.
Voula Manousaki of Heraklion, Crete.

“I met Voula by chance in mid 2022 when I walked past her studio. At the time, I didn’t know who she was. She invited me in to spend time with her. I visited her in her studio over the coming days spending several hours with her on each occasion.

“I felt a deep connection with Voula as a fellow artist, her artistic passion and her creativity. I knew I had to capture her image, and having gained her trust, she was open to me photographing her.”

The artist, who has Greek heritage from the island of Kastellorizo, said he has always had a passion for people-based photography.

“My portraits fit into the genre of environmental portraiture, that is – portraits of people in the place they know, feel comfortable and safe. My images have often been described as raw and emotive that shows a true connection between artist and subject,” Mr Christofas concluded.

The Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Percival Photographic Portrait Prize, and the Percival Animal Portrait Prize will be exhibited at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery from 22 June until 1 September 2024.

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