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Canberra Today 1°/5° | Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Aboriginal firsts in Archibald win

THE winner of the $100,000 Archibald Prize for his portrait of a friend, the Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens, is Sydney artist Blak Douglas, it was announced today (May 13) by Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand.

Blak Douglas, “Moby Dickens,” synthetic polymer paint on linen. Photo: Mim Stirling

The win for the huge 3m x 2m portrait, “Moby Dickens”, makes Douglas (born Adam Hill), a five-time Archibald Prize finalist, the second Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald Prize in 101 years after Vincent Namatjira won in 2020.

As well, it’s is the first time a portrait of an Aboriginal woman has won.

The artist was in Lismore immediately after the deluge in January and found Dickens looking after three families as part of her own rescue mission.

Douglas was an Archibald Prize finalist in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, all with portraits of Aboriginal sitters

He is known for bringing a black humour to his portrayal of subjects such as race, gender and injustice, and is one of nine artists commissioned to produce a site-specific work as part of the Sydney Modern Project, to be installed in the niche above the front door of the Art Gallery’s building later this year.

A highly commended honour was awarded to former Canberra artist Jude Rae for her portrait of scientist, engineer and inventor Saul Griffith. Rae was also a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize.

Nicholas Harding won the Wynne Prize, Australia’s oldest art prize, for “Eora landscape”, his painting of a confluence of landscape around Narrabeen Lakes on Sydney’s northern beaches and Sailors Bay walk on Sydney Harbour.

The $40,000 Sulman Prize 2022 went to Blue Mountains collaborative duo, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro for “Raiko and Shuten-dōji”, a depiction of the fight between Japanese warrior Raiko and the demon Shuten-dōji painted on the fuselage of a Vietnam War-era helicopter.

All finalists in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2022 will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW from June 14 to August 14. Then the show will travel to six venues in Victoria and regional NSW.

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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