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The Art Gallery of NSW Has Postponed This Year's Archibald Prize

New dates for the country's most prestigious portrait award haven't yet been revealed.
By Sarah Ward
March 22, 2020
By Sarah Ward
March 22, 2020

Australia's most prestigious portrait award, the Archibald Prize is one of the country's most anticipated annual arts events, making a huge splash across the Aussie creative scene each year. For the past few years, the event has announced its finalists in early May, then revealed its winner around a week later — and unveiled its exhibition at the Art Galley of NSW at the same time.

In 2020, however, the Archibald has been postponed, with new dates yet to be revealed. It's the latest event affected by the growing spread of COVID-19, as well as Australia's various efforts to stop the illness — including banning outdoor gatherings with more than 500 people, banning indoor gatherings with more than 100 people, and implementing a limit of one person per four square metres in inside spaces and venues.

In a statement on the Art Gallery of NSW website, the venue announced that "due to COVID-19, the gallery intends to hold the 2020 exhibition later this year". That applies not just to the Archibald, but to the Wynne and Sulman Prizes — which recognise the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture and the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project, respectively.

At present, entries have been suspended for all three prizes, with dates for submission and delivery of entries to the prizes postponed.

Lindy Lee by Tony Costa.

In 2019, Sydney painter Tony Costa took out the Archibald with his oil painting of fellow artist Lindy Lee — marking the first time in the award's 98-year history that a portrait of an Asian Australian has taken out the coveted prize.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions will no longer open on May 9 at the Art Gallery of NSW. For further details, visit the gallery's website. 

To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Published on March 22, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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