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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

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Clock ticks for artists

Thursday 29 October 2015

The clock is ticking for young portrait artists throughout Australia as entries for the inaugural Australian youth portrait prize closes at midnight on Monday 2 November.

The Bega Valley Regional Gallery will host the $10,000 acquisitive prize, The Shirl, from December 18 when celebrated young artist Abdul Abdullah will judge the entries.

BVRG curator Iain Dawson said Abdullah, from Perth and now living and working in Sydney, is a major force in Australian art circles, with his work currently featured as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s, Primavera exhibition.

“Primavera is an annual exhibition for Australian artists aged 35 years and under and celebrates the creative achievements of talented young artists who are in the early stages of their careers,” he said.

“We felt Abdul was such an appropriate choice to be our inaugural judge, particularly as he is a Primavera artist this year.

“We are thrilled Abdul is able to visit us in Bega and judge The Shirl and I’m sure this year’s entrants will be too.”

Mr Dawson said he had attended the launch of Primavera in September and recognised that Abdul was the perfect choice to judge The Shirl.

“Curator of Primavera, Nicole Foreshew, describes Abdul’s portraits ‘Caliban’ and ‘Sycorax’ as ‘integrating ideas of diversity, values and identity.

“Describing himself as a ‘seventh-generation Australian Muslim’ Abdullah dissects identification tactics often associated with media artefacts and consumption.”

The Shirl is sponsored by Peter Hannan as a tribute to his mother, portraitist and art patron, the late Shirley Hannan.  He also sponsors the biennial Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, also hosted by the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.

International Art Services, which specialises in art transport, art packing and art storage, has also thrown their support behind The Shirl as a major sponsor, in recognition of the tyranny of distance for regional cultural facilities. The IAS prize will be $1,000 worth of art transport for use by the winning artist anywhere in Australia.

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