Matt Adnate's Portrait of Baker Boy Just Won the Archibald Packing Room Prize Among 2024's Finalists

This year's fellow Archibald Prize contenders include portraits of Jacob Elordi, Tony Armstrong, Chloé Hayden and Jaguar Jonze.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 30, 2024

In 2023, Matt Adnate was an Archibald Prize finalist with his portrait of Daniel Johns, his first-ever entry for the acclaimed award. In 2024, the Northern Rivers–based artist has both repeated the feat and gone one better with his second entry, a new work featuring Baker Boy. Rhythms of heritage is among this year's shortlisted entries for the prestigious award, and also the recipient of 2024's Packing Room Prize.

Which artist will tale home the Archie in the gong's 103rd year will be unveiled on Friday, June 7, but Rhythms of heritage status as the Packing Room Prize-winner for 2024 has just been announced. The latter is selected by three members of the Art Gallery of New South Wales' packing room team — Timothy Dale, Monica Rudhar and Alexis Wildman in 2024 — hence the name.


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"I have always been inspired by music as it can help me channel and evoke strong emotion into my work. It gives me the energy to keep painting, from canvases in my studio to large-scale murals. I'm in awe of artists like Baker Boy who have the power to use music to transform people's mood, mind and energy," said Adnate about Rhythms of heritage and his Packing Room Prize win.

"It was an honour to paint him again and capture the intensity of his music. It has been incredible to watch Baker Boy evolving into a multi-talented and award-winning artist over the last decade, cementing his legacy as an Australian music icon," Adnate continued.

"I learned to paint through doing graffiti letters as a teenager; I switched to portraiture in 2010. This painting was produced mostly with spray paint, a medium that has always allowed me the most control. It's been a challenge to maintain my own technique and resist the pressure to use oils or more traditional mediums. I've always considered the Archibald to be the pinnacle of art prizes, especially for portraiture. To win the Packing Room Prize with a portrait that is so significant to me, and to be the first street artist to do so, it really pushes me further."


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If you're wondering how Baker Boy, aka Danzal Baker, feels about being a Packing Room Prize-winning subject, he's also thrilled. "Big congratulations to Matt for taking home the Packing Room Prize with his portrait of me. It's unreal to see how he captures me as I am today, reflecting my love for music and a deep connection to my home of Arnhem Land, seen through the soulful reflection in the eyes," he said.

Dale, Rudhar and Wildman had no shortage of praise for Adnate's work. "Matt Adnate is an incredible Australian street artist renowned for his large mural paintings. His portrait of singer-songwriter Baker Boy in his signature style is characterised by grand scale, vivid colours and a gaze that draws you in," advised Rudhar.

"Matt and Baker Boy are both highly accomplished in their respective fields and share a mutual recognition of each other's talents. Matt's powerful portrait encapsulates Baker Boy as the inspirational Indigenous storyteller that he is, mirroring the joy and hope that his music brings to the world."

Archibald Prize 2024 finalist, Caroline Zilinsky 'A lucid heart – the golden age of Jacob Elordi', oil on linen, 152.5 x 122.4 cm © the artist. Sitter: Jacob Elordi

Rhythms of heritage is one of 57 finalists in the Archibald, as whittled down from 1005 entries. Other works vying for the accolade include Caroline Zilinsky's portrait of Saltburn and Priscilla's Jacob Elordi, Mia Boe's of Tony Armstrong, Jessie Bourke's of Heartbreak High star Chloé Hayden, Paul de Zubicaray's of Jaguar Jonze and Angus McDonald's likeness of Professor Marcia Langton. Also on the list: Drew Bickford's portrait of Hello Dankness filmmakers Dan and Dominique Angeloro, aka Soda Jerk; Camellia Morris' of Anthony Field from The Wiggles; Tim Owers' of Matildas player Cortnee Vine; and Nick Stathopoulos' of film critic David Stratton.

If you'd like to see all of the above, plus the rest of 2024's finalists, they'll all be on display at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney from Saturday, June 8–Sunday, September 8, 2024. And, they'll have company from works shortlisted for the venue's similarly coveted Wynne and Sulman prizes. The Wynne received 738 entries, with 41 named as finalists, while the Sulman received 628 entries, naming 40 as final contenders.

The Wynne also made history by selecting 21 pieces by Aboriginal artists — the first time that there's been more works by Aboriginal artists than non-Aboriginal artists among the finalists.

Archibald Prize 2024 finalist, Jessie Bourke 'Different, not less', oil on canvas, 130 x 90.2 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter. Sitter: Chloé Hayden

Speculation about who will be awarded the coveted Archibald Prize — and, more often than not, the Archibald winner itself — usually causes much-heated debate. From 2018's five-time Archibald finalist Yvette Coppersmith's first win to Tony Costa's 2019 victory with his painting of fellow artist Lindy Lee — the first portrait of an Asian Australian to pick up the prize — it's hard a prize to pick. All that's really assured is that it'll be a portrait of a person by an Australian-based artist.

In 2020, Vincent Namatjira's portrait of Adam Goodes did the honours, and also marked the first time the award has gone to an Indigenous artist. In 2021, Peter Wegner's portrait of fellow artist Guy Warren nabbed the gong. In 2022, it was Blak Douglas' portrait of artist Karla Dickens in the Lismore floods that came out on top, while 2023's accolade went to Julia Gutman for a portrait of Montaigne.

Whoever earns the nod for 2024's Archibald, there's still another award up for grabs afterwards. If you don't agree with the judges, you can cast your own vote for People's Choice, which will be announced on Thursday, August 8.

Archibald Prize 2024 finalist, Angus McDonald 'Professor Marcia Langton AO', oil on canvas, 154.5 x 271.5 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter. Sitter: Marcia Langton

Archibald Prize 2024 Dates:

Saturday, June 8–Sunday, September 8, 2024 — Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW
Friday, September 20–Sunday, November 17, 2024 — Orange Regional Gallery
Saturday, November 30, 2024–Sunday, January 26, 2025 — Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery
Friday, February 7–Sunday, April 6, 2025 — Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
Thursday, April 24–Sunday, June 15, 2025 — Araluen Arts Centre, Northern Territory
Friday, July 4–Sunday, August 31, 2025 — Lismore Regional Gallery

Archibald Prize 2024 finalist, Drew Bickford 'Direct-to-video', oil on canvas, 152 x 101.7 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter. Sitter: Soda Jerk

The winner of 2024's Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be announced on Friday, June 7 at 12pm — check back here then.

If you can't make it to any of the above exhibition dates, you can check out the award winners and finalists of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes on the Art Gallery of NSW website.

Top image: Winner Packing Room Prize 2024, Matt Adnate 'Rhythms of heritage', spray paint and synthetic polymer paint on linen, 220 x 188.5 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter . Sitter: Baker Boy.

Published on May 30, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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