EXCITEMENT is building in the Bega Valley Regional Gallery with the 35 finalists’ works on their way to Bega for the biennial Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award.
The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award is well established as one of Australia’s best loved and richest portrait prizes.
This biennial event, sponsored by the Shirley Hannan Trust, is a celebration of realistic portraiture and attracts eminent practitioners from across Australia.
Gallery curator Iain Dawson said he was incredibly thrilled to see such a strong selection of works for this year’s award.
“The staff of the council’s mailroom, who unpack and register the portraits, have outdone themselves again this year, choosing Joshua McPherson’s exquisite painting ‘Portrait of ‘Pop’ for the Mailroom Prize,” he said.
“As the Mailroom Prize winner, Joshua receives $500 and is also in the running to take out first prize in the award, an amazing $50,000, and the People’s Choice award of $3000.
“I was blown away with the high quality of entrants in the 2014 award,” Mr Dawson said.
“We have three past winners of the prize among the finalists – Neil Moore from 2012, Mathew Lynn from 2010 and Raelene Sharp from 2006.
“Many of our finalists are artists with a strong professional background, including Shaun Gladwell, one of the country’s most celebrated artists, having represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2009.
“Shaun’s stunning entry is a double portrait titled Portrait of Meyne Wyatt/Black Digger.
“And for the celebrity seekers, we have portraits of ABC national newsreader Juanita Phillips, and both Andy Lee and Hamish Blake from Channel Nine’s Gap Year in separate entries.”
The eyes of the Australian art world will be turned towards Bega on May 30, when the winner of the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award will be announced.
“The judge of the 2014 Award is Dr Sarah Engledow from the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra,” Mr Dawson said.
“Dr Engledow was also the judge of the NPG’s National Photographic Portrait Award in 2014 so we are thrilled to have her expertise and experience to judge this year’s Hannan prize”.
The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award will be in the Bega Valley Regional Gallery from the opening night of Friday, May 30, until July 5.
Mr Dawson said he was extending the gallery hours during the Hannan exhibition by popular demand.
“With the Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Festival of the Face being held throughout June to coincide with the Hannan exhibition, the gallery is happy to open longer hours on for the two Fridays, June 6 and 20, open to 6pm with a program of events working with the Festival and on Saturday extended hours from 9am to 2pm for the length of show,” he said.