Arts / Dutton and Abbott ‘star’ in this year’s Bald Archy

Peter Batey

“IT’S a good one this year isn’t it?” asks founder of the infamous Bald Archy prize, Peter Batey when “CityNews” pops in on the unpacking of satirical portraits this morning (February 6) at the Watson arts Centre in preparation for a 10-venue run throughout Australia.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the prize and Batey is frankly astonished and a little gratified to note that “the standard of painting has gone through the roof this year, only half a dozen have been done by amateurs with no technique”.

As Bald Archy followers will know, the changing face of Australia Australian politics and public life is always reflected in the annual entries.

This year former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, are superstars of the show, with several entries featuring them. One, by artist Wendy Barling shows Mr Abbott as Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings”.

On the sidelines for the first time in some years are politicians Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie, although the issue of citizenship is well to the fore, with an unkind portrayal of former senator Sam Dastyari.

As usual, the media and the arts feature, with portraits of Waleed Ali, Ahn Do, Lee-Lin Chin, Craig McLachlan and Jimmy Barnes on show.

Several same-sex marriage-themed portraits are among the entries, one featuring Mr Abbott and Senator Cory Bernardi as bridesmaids to Senator Penny Wong. The cat in the picture is “Malcolm”.

The winner will be announced in Sydney later in the year, but Batey says that in 2018 for the first time, they’ve received sponsorship from the Sydney Brewery, which provides first and second cash prizes.

The 25th Bald Archy Prize, at Watson Arts Centre, 1 Aspinall Street, Watson, open daily from 10am- 4pm, February 8 – Monday, March 12. The Museum of the Riverina in Wagga Wagga has this week opened a retrospective called “Best of the Bald Archy”, running until mid-May.




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