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Finalists announced in the 2021 National Capital Art Prize

Robert Stephens. Photo: Holly Treadaway.

A WHOPPING 127 finalists have been chosen from a field of more than 1,000 submissions in the inaugural annual National Capital Art Prize.

Artists from all over the country entered the new competition, based in Canberra, with category winners set to share a prize pool of $45,000.

The artworks selected by judges Sasha Grishin, John Sackar, Bernard Ollis, Lynnice Church, Peter Johnson, Rebekah Davis and Sarah Schmidt will now be delivered from every part of Australia to Canberra. The shortlisted artworks will be judged for a second time in September to decide the four category winners.

The prize is the only Aussie art competition to allow entrants to paint any vision, such as portrait, landscape or abstract, and any subject, within the four main categories; “Open”, “First Nations Prize for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Artists”, “Landscape” and “Student”.

NSW has 48 finalists, followed by Victoria with 22, the ACT with 17, WA with 12, Queensland with 11, NT with eight, SA with six and three from Tasmania.

An unusual part of this competition will be the online People’s Choice Award, which opens for voting tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, and closes on September 14.

All finalist artworks will be displayed in a virtual gallery and the winner of this category will take home a cash prize of $2,500.

Director and founder of the National Capital Art Prize, Robert Stephens of Aarwun Gallery, said he has been thrilled with the national response to the awards and the astounding quality of the entries received.

“This competition reflects the need Australia has had for a forum where paintings of any type can be viewed, studied, critiqued, and sold – all through one competition. Australian artists have struggled for visibility over the last 12 months and these awards provide a platform for exposure and commercial opportunity,” he said.

He praised the Mineral Councils of Australia, who had enabled them to have a significant prize pool in their first year.

The 2021 National Capital Art Prize category winners will be announced on September 17 and a public exhibition in Canberra will follow from September 18 to October 10. Finalist artworks and voting here.

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Helen Musa

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