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Under 18 Prize: Disconcerted by the Unknown by Christine Rowell

Under 18 Prize

Disconcerted by the Unknown

Christine Rowell

A portrait of

Self Portrait

Acrylic Painting


50 x 70cm

Artist Age


About the work

My artwork communicates the peculiar scene of a young girl in her bed observing a movie on television, portrayed with a shocked expression to suggest a surprising event has occurred on screen. 

Set during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my artwork represents the impact of the lifestyle disturbance on Brisbane residents. A spectrum of colours introduce abnormality and disturbance into the composition as flesh does not usually reflect these tones, alluding to the strange circumstances of COVID-19 that have shaken residents across Brisbane. 

The audience of my artwork speculates what the subject could be observing, this sensation of the unknown is one that became familiar to the Brisbane population during the unfolding events of the pandemic. Residents closed their doors on the dynamism and interconnectedness of life in Brisbane to isolate in their private sanctuaries and havens; this reality that plagued our state is narrated through the semi-abstract aesthetic.

Judge's Notes

Christine Rowell’s entry into the Brisbane Portrait Prize captures the experience of thousands of teenagers across the world in a sophisticated response to the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. Rowell has tackled a technically ambitious and timely artwork with a level of accomplishment beyond her age.

The entries to the Under 18 category exhibited a high level of rigour and technical proficiency.

This category was unbelievably competitive and unfortunately we could only accept a small portion of the submissions. Every entrant deserves to be commended for their achievements and I truly hope they continue their visual arts pursuits in future.

Jenna Baldock
Under 18 Judge