Same Prize. Different Face. The Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, one of the country’s richest prizes for portraiture has been renamed The Lester Prize in honour of the award’s leading patron, Richard Lester.
Forty finalists from across Australia have been selected from over 400 entrants for this year's The Lester Prize. Amongst this year's finalists, 15 were WA artists, 10 were from VIC, 9 from NSW, with the remaining 6 from QLD, TAS and the ACT.
Subjects of the works range from self-portraits to people who have played a significant part in the artists' lives. A quarter of this year's finalists have been named as finalists in previous years of the competition. The Pre-Selection Panel, Olga Cironis; Dr Darren Jorgensen; Dunja Rmandić; Mark Stewart and Toni Wilkinson said, “the diverse cultural and personal narratives presented were revealing of our contemporary world today—it certainly made the selection process challenging.
The works uncovered stories of self-reflection, struggle over hardship and unique insights which will hopefully ignite imaginations and evoke emotions with the viewing public. Media such as oil, acrylic, watercolour, graphite, woodcut print, and mixed media will feature in this year’s collection."
The Lester Prize is celebrating its thirteenth anniversary in 2019 and its fourth year at the Art Gallery of WA. The finalists' artworks will be on display at AGWA in the Centenary Galleries from 9 November to 9 December 2019.
The Awards will be announced on 8 November at the Awards Night. Tickets will be on sale in late September. This year's Prize pool consists of: The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges) | $50,000 cash plus two economy class return tickets to any Singapore Airlines destination (except USA) valued at $3,660 excluding taxes Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) | $10,000 cash Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $7,500 cash Highly Commended x 2 (selected by a panel of judges) | $1,000 cash, $250 Oxlades Art Supplies plus one economy class return ticket to any Singapore Airlines destination (except USA) valued at $3,660 excluding taxes each For more information please visit lesterprize.com BACKGROUND The Lester Prize is managed by The Lester (formerly ARTrinsic Inc), a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2007 by Tina Wilson to provide an avenue for artists to exhibit works of portraiture within Western Australia. After successfully taking the Main Awards and Exhibition to its new home at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2016, Tina stepped down to return to her own artistic practice. Tina Wilson was made Patron of the Prize in 2018 in recognition of her passionate and tireless work to ensure there was a prize of ever-increasing excellence and prestige. Dick Lester was made Lifetime Patron of the Prize in 2018, in recognition of his passion for the Arts, his encouragement of Tina Wilson during her tenure as Executive Director, and his advice and financial assistance that, from modest beginnings, enables the Prize to flourish.
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