Australia’s favourite portrait prize is back for 2022, and as always it's a delight to see which famous faces have made it into the mix of painterly interpretations. This year over 800 paintings were submitted, and you can peruse the top 52 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until August 28, when they ship off around the country.
This year Koori artist Blak Douglas took out the top gong, the $100,000 Archibald Prize, for a painting of his good friend and fellow artist Karla Dickens, depicted looking grumpy and holding leaking buckets as she stands in muddy water during the recent devastating floods in her hometown of Lismore in northern New South Wales.
The much-anticipated Packing Room Prize, which is judged by the Art Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries, was awarded this year to Sydney-based artist Claus Stangl for his impressive 3D-style painting of beloved New Zealander writer, director, actor (and everyone’s crush) Taika Waititi.
A highly commended honour was awarded this year to Sydney artist Jude Rae for her portrait of scientist, engineer and inventor Dr Saul Griffith. Rae is also a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize with her landscape The white fig (Ficus cirens), Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Other notable portraits this year include a colourful depiction of Shane Jenek standing shoulder to shoulder with his drag alter-ego Courtney Act, a realistic painting of actor Hugh Jackman posed with his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, a cheeky lounging nude of writer and journalist Benjamin Law, current Australian of the Year and paralympian (and all round good guy) Dylan Alcott, and many more. Don’t forget to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award on your way out.
As always, the Young Archie competition is also packed with some gorgeous artworks by young Aussies aged between five-years-old and 18-years.
Of course, the Archibald’s sibling exhibitions, the Wynne and Sulman Prizes, often overlooked in comparison to their spotlight-stealing sibling, are also packed with an eclectic mix of awe-inspiring works this year. The Wynne awards the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figurative sculpture, and the Sulman goes to the best genre painting, subject painting or mural project.
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The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are open to visit from May 14 to August 28 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Gallery is open every day from 10am to 5pm, and open late until 9pm on Wednesdays. Tickets are timed and start at $22 for adults, you can snap up yours here.