Portraits aren't all regal furs and awkward "Oh, didn't see you there," poses. They can be weird, abstract, figurative, unrecognisable, or downright adorable. It's not an easy task; capturing a realistic, unrelentingly vulnerable likeness of your own reflection, someone you've just met or one of your oldest buds takes a fair few stories, maybe a few beers and a willingness to tackle the intimidating notion of thinking up something new after decades of Archibald Prize winners.
Australia's top portraiture prize is back for another year, the Art Gallery of New South Wales's annual celebration of Aussie faces. The Archibald finalists will be exhibited at AGNSW from July 29 to October 22, along with the finalists for the Wynne Prize (which awards the best landscape painting of Australia or figure sculpture) and the Sulman Prize (for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project). After exhibiting in Sydney, the finalists will then tour regionally, after which time the winner will be announced by the trustees of AGNSW. The winner will be awarded $100,000 in prize money and some serious bragging rights to boot.
The prize was created by Jules Francois Archibald, the founding editor of The Bulletin magazine. He established the prize with the goal to promote both great Australian portraiture and great Australians. The only real stipulation within the contest is that the painting must have been created in the last 12 months and include at least one live sitting with the subject.
The award is an open competition, which means that any resident of Australia or New Zealand can enter. Something to keep in mind for next year.
And while you wait to potentially enter the next Archibald, we have another competition for you to enter — we're giving away ten double passes to the Archibald.
By Marissa Ciampi and Shannon Connellan.
Image: Dee Smart, The mayor of Bondi, oil and acrylic © the artist.
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW.