Tuesday 14 March 2017
The Bega Valley’s rich history with portraiture winds up a notch later this month when the Shire plays host to the biggest and most famous art prize in Australia.
The 2016 Archibald Prize opens at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery on March 24, one of only six galleries outside of Sydney to host the Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition.
Regional Gallery Director, Iain Dawson said all of the 51 finalists will be on show.
This is the biggest and most loved prize on the calendar, so it is great to have it here,” Mr Dawson said.
“Bus tours for Canberra and surrounding districts are being organised, we’ll be busy with up to 500 visitors expected each day.”
Monaro based artist and 2016 Archibald finalist Lucy Culliton will open the exhibition.
“Lucy’s self-portrait and all those pigeons will be a crowd favourite,” Mr Dawson said.
“And Lucy is the only artist to be a finalist in all three of AGNSW’s big art prizes in 2016 – The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman, so it adds real weight to have her here to launch the exhibition.”
Later in 2017, the Bega Valley Regional Gallery will curate and host the only national portrait prize for young artists – The Shirl. This $10,000 acquisitive prize is open to 16 to 25 year olds, and is an extension on the long running Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize.
“Because of our history with the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award, this region has a real passion and reputation for excellence in portraiture,” Mr Dawson says.
“There’s less of an intimidating quality about portraiture, anyone can come and enjoy what they see and actually feel comfortable about having an artistic opinion.”
Mr Dawson is encouraging groups of 10 people or more to book in at the Gallery so that they can make the most of the Archibald experience. Bookings can be made by phoning the Gallery on 6499 2187.
Photograph: ‘Lucy and fans’ by Lucy Culliton, 2016 Archibald finalist.