Canberra region well represented in the 2015 Archibald Prize

omar musa portrait

CANBERRA connections are to the fore in the shortlist for the 2015 Archibald Prize, announced late this morning by the Art Gallery of NSW.

The line-up of local subjects in the shortlist includes Peter Churcher’s “The Last Portrait,” an impression of his late mother Betty Churcher on her deathbed and a portrait painted by former director of the National Museum of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery, Andrew Sayers, of the ANU environmental lawyer and cultural historian, Tim Bonyhady.

Sayers’ solo exhibition “Nature through the Glass of Time,” which recently finished at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in Caulfield, Victoria, featured a catalogue essay by Bonyhady.

Canberra region artist Kerry McInnis’ portrait of Queanbeyan writer and rapper Omar Musa is also on the short list.

The prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

McInnis, who has previously been hung in the Dobell Drawing Award and in the Salon de Refuses, has been entering the Archibald for many years but this is the first time one of her works has been hung. She is currently in the West MacDonnell Ranges on a sketching trip so was not contactable, but she is expected to be at the Art Gallery of NSW for the announcement of winners on July 17.

Her work, titled “Omar Musa and the poetry of unease,” shows Musa, wearing a sarong, outside his Queanbeyan unit.

Musa commented, “I am absolutely over the moon for Kerry, She is a fine artist and a lovely person to boot. I was honoured and flattered to be painted by such a great artist. It’s surreal to see so many different sides of me, captured in oil: my Malaysian heritage, my Queanbeyan upbringing, my poetry. My cat Sinbad is even in there, stealing the show, as usual.”

2015 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, July 18 to September 27.

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