An emotional image, taken by local photographer Ronnie Grammatica, capturing the roadside tribute to a loved one has been selected as a finalist in the 67th Blake Prize.
The photo, taken at Telegraph Point, is one of many in Mr Grammatica's Roadside Memorial series.
"I moved to Port Macquarie in 2014 after relocating here from Italy and I started to explore what it means to be Australian and to tell regional stories through photography," he said.
I started photographing people but discovered a roadside memorial and thought that it was really interesting.
"I noticed a lot more roadside memorials, they seemed to pop up everywhere on country roads after that."
Mr Grammatica has been working on the series on and off for five years, with the image selected as a finalist to be exhibited alongside the other finalists at the 67th Blake Prize exhibition from March 12 to May 22 at the Casula Powerhouse.
"These roadside memorials are a place for grieving loved ones. It's a public space that is made sacred because of these memorials," Mr Grammatica said.
"I also hope that my work through Roadside Memorial will serve as a safety reminder for road users."
Mr Grammatica said the photo selected is of a roadside memorial at Telegraph Point for a young boy who passed away after a road accident.
"His family and friends erected the memorial for him. I have been in touch with his mother and she is supportive of the photo being selected and is happy for me to use it in the exhibition," he said.
The Blake Prize is one of Australia's longest running and most prestigious contemporary art prizes. It is a biennial event that engages local and international contemporary artists in conversations on the broader experience of spirituality, religion, and belief.
"I'm very honoured to be selected as a finalist. The Blake Prize is a contemporary gauge of Australian culture and I'm very proud to have been chosen," Mr Grammatica said.
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre director Craig Donarski said the finalist images showcase the past two years through art.
"This year's Blake Prize finalists have delivered an incredible range of artworks, from painting, photography, sculpture, installation and digital media works exploring the wider experience of spirituality, religion and belief," he said.
"The works in this year's exhibition express the huge changes the world has gone through over the last two years, as well as the changing cultural mix of Australia's population, our attitudes towards religion and spirituality, and how our artists interpret, reflect, and question these notions via their work through art."
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