Bega Valley artists Tim Moorhead, Joseph O’Gara and Bethany Thurtell are among a record 35 finalists in this year’s Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award.
Mr O’Gara from Eden, Mr Moorhead from Bega, and Ms Thurtell from Bermagui have cemented the regions reputation as a hot spot for artistic prowess, Bega Valley Regional Gallery director Iain Dawson said.
Mr Dawson praised the quality of this year’s entries.
“This year’s entries were our strongest ever and audiences will see works from past winners, Archibald Prize finalists, and many of Australia’s best-known portraitists,” he said.
With $50,000 up for grabs, the award is a non-acquisitive prize for realistic portraiture, held biennially at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.
The exhibition will launch on Friday, October 26 when the 2018 guest judge, art critic and broadcaster, Dr Andrew Frost, will select the winner from a strong field of contenders.
The selection committee consisted of Brisbane-based gallery director Edwina Corlette, influential art collector and architect Ross Bonthorne, Alaska Projects director Sebastian Goldspink, International Art Services Business Development Manager Alison Guthrie and members of the Hannan family.
Before her death in 2005, Ms Hannan doubled the prize purse to $30,000 and it was decided to discard the figure drawing component of the prize, concentrating on portraiture alone.
Ms Hannan's husband, Brian Settle, established the Shirley Hannan Trust to perpetuate the award as a national portrait prize with a focus on realism. In 2012, Hannan's son Peter donated a further $20,000 to the prize.