The Shirl 2017 youth portrait prize awarded at Bega Valley Regional Gallery

New art: Judge Tony Albert and BVRG director Iain Dawson with the Shirl's winning portrait, Mossy. The Shirl prize is supported by BVRG patron, Peter Hannan.

New art: Judge Tony Albert and BVRG director Iain Dawson with the Shirl's winning portrait, Mossy. The Shirl prize is supported by BVRG patron, Peter Hannan.

The winner of the Shirl, Australia’s only youth portrait prize, has been announced at Bega Valley Regional Gallery. 

Melbourne based artist Samantha Sommariva, AKA Misklectic, collected the Shirl and $10,000 prize for her portrait of her friend and performance artist Mossy.

This year’s Shirl judge was Tony Albert, two time Archibald Prize finalist and renowned contemporary multimedia artist. He selected the winning portrait from a pool of 29 finalists from across Australia.

“It’s a very challenging idea of what a portrait is and can do, and explores some of the most challenging social issues of the moment,” Mr Albert said. 

BVRG director Iain Dawson said The Shirl gives recognition to emerging artists.

“As Australia’s only youth portrait prize, we are creating something unique, bringing new focus and opportunity for artists, we can be very proud of what’s been achieved here.”

Edward Essing won the International Art Services Award, worth $1000 worth of national artwork freight, for his portrait, Emily.

The Bega Valley Arts & Craft Society gave their $500 Linda Deighton Award for local excellence to Bonnie Macarthur for her work, Annie. 

The Shirl is the little sister event to The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award. Both prizes are supported by the Bega Valley Regional Gallery’s patron Peter Hannan in memory of this mother’s commitment to portraiture.

The Shirl wraps a big year in portraiture at the Bega Valley Regional Galley, which also hosted the prestigious Archibald Prize earlier in the year.

The Shirl is on show at BVRG until November 25.

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