Anneke Jamieson wins Napier Waller Art Prize for portrait of breastfeeding servicewoman

Anneke Jamieson wins Napier Waller Art Prize for portrait of breastfeeding servicewoman

A stunning portrait of an army servicewoman in uniform breastfeeding her baby has won a prestigious art prize at the Australian War Memorial.

Retired army major Anneke Jamieson has won the 2022 Napier Waller Art Prize for her painting The Promotion, a portrait inspired by her own experiences as a mother and servicewoman.

Anneke Jamieson . The promotion, 2021, acrylic and canvas on board, 61 x 46 cm. (Supplied: Australian War Memorial)

Jamieson is a mother of three, and has dedicated The Promotion to mothers that serve in the armed forces.

“The mother in me could never make peace with the officer I wanted to be,” Jamieson said in her artist statement, accompanying the portrait.

“While pregnant with our first child I planned my return from maternity leave blind to the person I would become when promoted to mother. I’ve always admired the leaders I’ve served with – they give so much of themselves for their people. When our second and third children arrived, it was evident I couldn’t be both the officer I wanted to be and the mother I needed to be. I had incredible support from my husband and Army but it didn’t change my capacity to give of myself. Nor did watching friends manage the conflict with grace and determination. My choice was difficult but obvious and, in the end, empowering.

“But she is not me. She is the woman whose career came first. She has dedicated herself to her soldiers and her service and achieved so much. Yet now, as a new mother, she has returned from maternity leave changed in ways she never imagined; this promotion might be her greatest challenge yet.

“I dedicate her to the mothers that serve; to their sacrifices and conflicted hearts and to the families who support them.”

The artwork was chosen as the winner of the prize from a shortlist of 14 highly commended works. Jamieson will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

The Napier Waller Art Prize is open to entries from all current and former service personnel in the Australian Defence Force. Jamieson’s portrait will be added into the memorial’s National Collection.
“This year’s short-listed works are of an extremely high standard. They are also quite diverse and show a broad range of artistic talent with a variety of mediums represented,” said Laura Webster, Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial.

“The winning work is very significant because it tells the story of women and mothers in the Australian Defence Force.”

Feature Image: Napier Waller Art Prize 2022 winner Anneke Jamieson with her portrait The Promotion. (Credit: Australian War Memorial, photograph taken by David Whittaker)

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