Culture Buff

Bruce Beresford at home in Birchgrove 2018

21 February 2020

10:00 PM

21 February 2020

10:00 PM

Sydney’s Archibald has the name and the fame, but there is a new kid on the block: the Darling Portrait Prize.

Launched by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, the Darling has an attractive cash prize of $75,000. The winner will be announced in March, with the exhibition showing from 6 March to 10 May. Portrait prizes might be considered a rather crowded field in Australia with the Archibald, the Moran Prize, the Portia Geach for women artists and now the Darling, to name the leaders.

But that is not to say the field is too crowded. There are a lot of artists plying their craft in this territory and there is a great public appetite for viewing portraits. Therefore it is not surprising that the gallery which is devoted to this discipline should want to stake a claim.

The NPG has announced 40 finalists for the 2020 prize. The list has some established prize-winners including Wendy Sharpe, Zoe Young, Paul Newton, and Vincent Fantauzzo. Zoe Young’s subject is director Bruce Beresford whose most recent film was Ladies in Black. Trained at the National Art School in East Sydney, Young paints both still-life and portraiture in her Southern Highlands studio barn while her two pre-schoolers are in day care. She has a thriving practice.

Winning a major prize matters, obviously because the money makes a big difference, but also it confirms a professional status. It’s not just a hobby!

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