The Archibald Prize started in 1921 and has steadily grown to become Australia’s most celebrated art award. It reached new heights last year, with a record number of entrants and First Nations winners in each of the Archibald, Wynne, Sulman and Packing Room awards. Vincent Namatjira’s win marked the first time in the prize’s 99 year history an Indigenous artist had taken out the top honour.
This centenary year heralds another first for diversity, with gender parity achieved among the shortlisted entrants. From the 52 finalists, 26 are women and 26 are men, with women making up the majority of portrait subjects.
One of these works was a portrait of musician Kate Ceberano by Kathrin Longhurst, which has been awarded this year’s Packing Room Prize. Other subjects of prominent Australian figures include Australian of the Year Grace Tame, artist Del Kathryn Barton, Arrernte and Kalkadoon filmmaker Rachel Perkins, actor Firass Dirani, and presenter and refugee advocate Craig Foster.
Many of TDF favourite artists were on the shortlist – Sally M. Nangala Mulda, Karen Black, Thea Perkins, Julian Meagher, Sally Ross and more – as well as an entry from last year’s Wynne Prize winner, Marikit Santiago, made in collaboration with her seven-year-old daughter and a vibrant self-portrait by art therapist Kirthana Selvaraj.
The winner of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be announced on Friday June 4th.
The shortlisted works will be on exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales from 5 June to 26 September 2021, after which it will travel to six regional galleries in NSW and Victoria from October. Find out more information here.