Dean Cross to repaint city in $20000 Goulburn art exhibition – About Regional

Dean Cross in his studio. Photo: Dario Hardaker.

At the age of 25, Dean Cross had ticked off all the things he’d ever dreamed of in a career.

The Indigenous Australian visual artist had travelled the world, performing in theatres in London’s West End and New York as a contemporary dancer.

Encouraged by a couple of niggling injuries, his thoughts turned to a second career in visual arts. He had grown to love art by visiting galleries everywhere he travelled and theatres as a child. But above all, the walls of Mr Cross’ family home – firstly in Bywong, and then later between Sutton and Gundaroo – had the greatest impression. Every space was filled with art collected by his parents.

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Among those paintings was a large collection of first-generation Hermannsburg watercolours, which followed the work of famous Indigenous Australian artist Albert Namatjira who captured the beauty of the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia.

“We had a lot of great art on our walls, so looking at and understanding visual culture has always been a part of my life,” Mr Cross said. “One day it clicked that visual art was something I could do, so I enrolled with Sydney College of the Arts and started a new career.”

This Placed by Dean Cross. Image: Supplied.

He gained a Bachelor’s degree from the college and his first-class honours from the ANU School of Art and Design. Since then, his paintings, photography, installations and sculptures have been exhibited across Australia and received many prizes including the Indigenous Ceramic Prize, The Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, The Redlands Art Prize and Macquarie Group Emerging Art Prize. Mr Cross has also exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney and was a year-long artist in residence at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

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In July 2021, Mr Cross’ work will appear in the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.

A large solo exhibition was awarded to the early career artist under The Good Initiative, a new $20,000 grant and mentorship with the gallery’s director Gina Mobayed; senior curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Clothilde Bullen; and Buxton Contemporary Melbourne curator Melissa Keys.

Miscarriage by Dean Cross. Photo: Jessica Maurer.

The Goulburn exhibition will provide viewers with an immersive experience, including video and the other mediums Mr Cross works with, and rethink how we perceive the regional capital.

“One of the ideas I want to look at in the exhibition is centralism, the idea that there is an emerald city for those who live a few hours from Sydney, that Sydney is the land of opportunity for young regional people,” Mr Cross said.

“Too often, regional places get put into a category and treated a certain way, but it doesn’t need to be that way. As transport and internet get better, regional places will become more vibrant as they once were and more crucial to the social fabric, not these backwaters they’ve turned into.”

READ ALSO: Annual Goulburn Art Award moves online

The artist, who now lives in Sydney, said it felt good to produce an exhibition in the region he grew up in.

“Goulburn was always the place you stopped at on the way to Sydney and I’m so excited to present an ambitious show in a place that feels like home,” Mr Cross said.

Runs Deep by Dean Cross. Photo: Document Photography.

Goulburn Regional Art Gallery director Ms Mobayed said Mr Cross’ work needed to be seen, considered and discussed.

“The ideas in his proposal were a vital and fascinating commentary on who we are and what is happening in contemporary society,” she said. “I am so pleased we can support him and his work, and bring it into Goulburn.”

Mr Cross has a busy few months ahead of him as he not only prepares for the exhibition but also his wedding in Braidwood.

The Art Gallery of NSW’s Prestigious Archibald Prize Has Announced Its 2020 Finalists – Concrete Playground

Australia’s most prestigious portrait award is around the corner, and its finalists have just been announced.

Every year, speculation about who will be awarded the coveted prize and, more often than not, the Archibald winner itself, causes much-heated debate. From 2018’s five-time Archibald finalist Yvette Coppersmith’s first win to Tony Costa’s win with his painting of fellow artist Lindy Lee — the first portrait of an Asian Australian to pick up the prize — it’s hard a win to pick. All that’s really assured is that it’ll be a portrait of a person by an Australian.

Held at the Art Gallery of NSW every year, the Archibald runs in conjunction with the Wynne and Sulman Prizes — recognising the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture and the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project, respectively.

This year, because of a certain pandemic, the Archibald was postponed and is running from September 2020 to January 2021. As usual, it’s sure to be popular, but instead of pushing through crowds to see the prized portraits, you’ll have a bit of space thanks to reduced capacities and timed tickets.

And you’ll have some exceptional artworks to feast your eyes upon, too. Famed Sydney street artist Scott Marsh’s portrait of musician Adam Briggs has made the cut, as have a haunting painting of comedian Magda Szubanski and a Star Trek-esque oil work of NSW Minister for Environment and Energy Matt Kean.

Wongutha-Yamatji artist Meyne Wyatt has also taken out the coveted 2020 Archibald Packing Room Prize, chosen by the packing room team, becoming the first Indigenous Australian to win any Archibald award in the competition’s 99-year history.

As there are so many outstanding portraits this year (as there are every year), it’s impossible to know which of the 55 is going to take home the $100,000 prize. Regardless, here are some of our favourites — and some we think may have a good chance of winning.


Actor and artist Meyne Wyatt became the first Indigenous Australian in Archibald history to win any of the competition’s awards when he won the 2020 Archibald Packing Room Prize. The history-making self-portrait is a realistic acrylic painting and, in fact, Wyatt’s first painting in over ten years. The Wongutha-Yamatji man and first-time Archibald entrant has no formal art training, but gets some handy tips from his mum Sue Wyatt who was herself an Archibald finalist in 2003. If the portrait above, and Wyatt’s signature raised eyebrow, look familiar, it’s likely you’ve seen him in the likes of The Sapphires, Redfern Now and Neighbours.


Artist Scott Marsh’s portraits aren’t a rare site on the streets of Sydney (see: Egg Boy, Mike Baird and Kanye Loves Kanye) but they are a rare site on the walls of the AGNSW. The first-time finalist has joined the ranks of the country’s art elite with his seventh submission to the Archibald Prize: a portrait of Indigenous Australian rapper Adam Briggs. The portrait is entitled Salute of gentle frustration, which Marsh says references “the deep fatigue of generations of Aboriginal people demanding equality against a backdrop of political rhetoric and inaction”.


Self-taught artist Kaylene Whiskey listens to the music of famed American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton while she paints. It’s an effective technique, it seems, with Whiskey already cleaned up the Sulman Prize in 2018 and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for general painting in 2019. Now, Whiskey is one of 55 finalists selected for the Archibald Prize with a self-portrait in which Dolly visits her home in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. In the painting, Dolly holds a bejewelled guitar and the pair is surrounded by clocks, cameras, superwomen, galahs and a flying nun.


This year, after more than six years in an Australian offshore detention centre, celebrated Kurdish Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani was granted asylum in New Zealand. Sydney artist Angus McDonald first made contact with Boochani when he was making a documentary, called Manus, about the Manus Island detention centre, but was not allowed onto the island to meet him. So, when Boochani landed in NZ, McDonald decided to fly there and paint him instead. The oil portrait sees Boochani looking directly at the viewer, which McDonald says portrays Boochani as a “a strong, confident and peaceful man who survived a brutal ordeal and is now free”.


Japan-born, Sydney-based artist Yuri Shimmyo’s inspiration for her self-portrait came from a 19th-century painting by John Singer Sargent called Carnation, lily, lily, rose. While Sargent’s painting features two girls playing in a garden, Shimmyo’s features herself — Yuri means ‘lily’ in Japanese — covered in lilies, surrounded by a wallpaper of roses. As for the carnations, if you look to the left of the oil portrait, you’ll red-and-blue tins of Carnation milk.

The winning portraits and finalists will be on display at Sydney’s Art Gallery of NSW from Saturday, September 26 to Sunday, January 10. If you do’t agree with the judges, you can cast your own vote for People’s Choice before Sunday, December 13.


Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney — September 26–January 10
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, NSW — January 22–March 7
Cairns Art Gallery, Qld — March 19–May 2
Griffith Regional Art Galley, NSW — May 14–June 27
Broken Hill Regional Art Galley, NSW — July 9–August 22
Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, NSW — September 3–October 17
Penrith Regional Gallery, NSW — October 29–December 5

If you can’t make it to any of the above dates, you can check out the award winners and finalists of the ArchibaldWynne and Sulman Prizes on the Art Gallery of NSW website.

Published on September 21, 2020 by Samantha Teague

Japanese POW art in Australasia ‘entirely ignored’ until now – The Mainichi

This undated photo shows a painting of a woman wearing a traditional Japanese kimono by a Japanese wartime internee in New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of Featherston Heritage Museum)(Kyodo)

SYDNEY (Kyodo) — Hundreds of works of art created by Japanese prisoners of war and civilian internees detained in Australia and New Zealand during World War II have been studied for the very first time by academics, having been “entirely ignored” by scholars for decades.

In their article, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, co-authors Richard Bullen from the University of Canterbury and Tets Kimura of Flinders University said the works complicate the commonly accepted narrative of Japanese people during wartime and provide further insight into the “isolating and traumatic experience of internment.”

Bullen, 52, told Kyodo News that unlike internment camps in the United States, the history of wartime detention in Australia and New Zealand is largely unknown.

Despite having devoted his career to studying Japanese art in New Zealand, Bullen said he had no idea the works existed until very recently.

“It’s quite extraordinary,” the associate professor of art history and theory said in a phone interview. “The artworks that were produced at the camps…have been, until this point, entirely ignored.”

Throughout the war, roughly 5,000 Japanese or part-Japanese POWs and civilians were interned at eight locations across Australia and New Zealand.

This undates photo shows a painting of a woman wearing a traditional Japanese kimono by a Japanese wartime internee in Australia. (Photo courtesy of Cowra Regional Art Gallery)(Kyodo)

The authors say the style and medium of the artworks, which include paintings, sculptures and game pieces for mahjong and traditional Japanese “hanafuda” playing cards, varied greatly by location.

Artwork from camps in South Australia, where native hardwood was available, included intricately carved marquetry boxes and large three-dimensional wooden sculptures, while pieces from New Zealand were often painted onto wooden offcuts from camp construction materials.

Artists also used easily attainable medicines instead of paints to color their works.

“Some of the most beautiful pieces are the games like hanafuda cards and mahjong sets,” Bullen said, noting that some works appear to have been created by individuals with artistic training.

“Some were made for exchange (with guards) for tobacco or camp currency, but a lot were made for playing in the camp.”

In addition to trading art with guards, the authors found prisoners also gifted works to local farmers and nurses who had shown them particular kindness.

However, despite the artworks facilitating relationships across the wartime divide, Bullen said the situation at the camps should not be misinterpreted.

“It’s easy to look at the camp and say ‘Oh look at all the beautiful artworks and everyone got on so well because they were exchanging (art) with the guards,” because that’s clearly (incorrect),” he said, noting the significant power dynamic between prisoners and guards.

This undated photo shows a sculpture of two figures kissing by a Japanese wartime internee in Australia. (Photo courtesy Barmera Visitor Information Centre)(Kyodo)

“The prisoners were making items which would have taken hours and hours of work for a little bit of tobacco or a small amount of money…It wasn’t a happy situation for the prisoners. None of them wanted to be there.”

Bullen said in addition to feelings of nostalgia or homesickness for Japan displayed through depictions of women dressed in kimono, landscapes of Mt. Fuji, there is also a sense of nationalism and militarism seen through images of Japanese castles and the “hinomaru” wartime flag also featuring heavily in works.

“There’s an underlying nationalism there, perhaps a sense of resistance to the experience they were having, and I don’t think that was ever picked up by the guards,” Bullen said.

Unlike Japanese prisoners, the authors said works by civilian internees did not depict the same feelings of nationalism. Instead, some civilian pieces are reminiscent of works by European artists.

“Prisoners of war were either Japanese or from the Japanese empire, so Taiwanese or Korean, so their experience and who they were was quite different from a second-generation Australian whose father happened to be ethnic Japanese,” Bullen said.

“They’re different people (and) we think that’s reflected in the kind of art they made.”

Following the war, prisoners and many civilians were repatriated to Japan, causing a decades-long hiatus of Japanese art produced in either Australia or New Zealand.

As the authors note, “Ironically, the darkest period of Japanese history in Australasia is the region’s richest period of Japanese art.”

Essentially Grey – The Hippocratic Post

Rebecca Wallersteiner takes a look at ‘Essentially Grey’ a new exhibition of pictures by Hanna ten Doornkaat at The MUSE Gallery, London which explores how colours influence our mood and emotions

Research has shown that environment and calming colours influences the speed of patients’ recovery. Your emotions and mood are influenced by the colours around you. Feeling blue, or green with envy? Certain colours, such as red, blue, yellow and green are known to have a positive psychological effect on us and enhance our mood. If you’re seeing red because you are livid, you might wish to visualize soothing green instead. Or enervating yellow, playful pink, or calming blue, or greys. At The MUSE Gallery, in London, until 4th October, ‘Essentially Grey’ is an exhibition of new work by artist Hanna ten Doornkaat teasing the viewer’s emotional response with the subtle use of colour.

Born in Heidelberg, Germany, living and working in the UK, ten Doornkaat’s medium is the graphite pencil and the occasional pastel pink, blue, orange or red. With echoes of Rothko, her monochrome colours such as grey, black, ghostly whites have a tranquil effect on stressed emotions, rather like looking at sea-mist on an autumn evening.

Hanna ten Doornkaat says, “A complex repetitive process of mark making and erasure – revealing and concealing – informs my drawing practice. The serial mark making mirrors the series of ideas involved in my drawings. I directly respond to the continual thread of fleeting moments in the online/social media experience, whilst drawing information and memories from art history – even though the visual result is non-descriptive or referential.” Colours change according to light but what the retina sees is not necessarily what the brain translates into our knowledge of colour.

By drawing hundreds of thin, straight lines ten Doornkaat builds up a density and layering. A small work can take her up to a week. She often explores the interrelationship between movement and mark and its expansion into spatial formations. Her use of subtle grey colours allow the viewer to focus on the work without distracting from the obsessively drawn lines, grids and marks on board.

The artist is both fascinated and frustrated by the plethora of imagery of social media and how this affects the subconscious mind. As the result of her background in sculpture she often views her multi-layered pictures as an installation. Her work is abstract and often based on geometric shapes. She is inspired by artists such as Sol LeWitt and Agnes Martin.

In colour psychology grey represents neutrality and balance. Grey can be overlooked but it is an interesting colour if you go a little deeper. The renowned Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti who preferred to work in greys said, “If I see everything in grey, and in grey all the colours which I experience and which I would like to reproduce, then why should I use any other colour? I’ve tried doing so, for it was never my intention to paint only with grey. But in the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another and what has remained is grey, grey, grey!

Even chronic illnesses can be influenced by colour, by affecting mood, emotions and energy levels. It is therefore important for hospitals and medical centres to create a calming environment to help put patients and visitors at ease and have a positive effect on patients’ wellbeing and improve staff morale. Colours can encourage a therapeutic impact. Yellow, for example, is thought to be enervating and promote energy and happiness. However, too much yellow, or too bright a yellow is likely to have a negative effect. Stress may be eased with calming blues and greens and subtle greys, these colours evoke the colours of nature, reminding us of trees, fields, rivers, the sea and summer skies and are popular in hospitals.

Visiting Hanna ten Doornkaat’s exhibition is a good way to switch off from your pressurized job and complex problems with some art therapy.

Hanna ten Doornkaat studied sculpture at Kingston University and MA (sculpture) at Wimbledon School of Art (UAL). She was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, London, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and Derwent Art Prize. In 2019 she showed in ‘Personal Structures’ organised by the European Cultural Centre as part of the Venice Biennale and has exhibited in the UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and Belgium.

Essentially Grey (17 September to 4th October 2020), at the MUSE Gallery & Studio, 269 Portobello Road, London W11 1LR

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Australia police in spotlight on Indigenous deaths in custody – Al Jazeera English

Brisbane, Australia – “Say her name!” yelled Ruby Wharton to a crowd of Black Lives Matter supporters in Brisbane, as hundreds took to the streets of the Queensland city following the death of a 49-year-old Indigenous woman in police custody.  

The 23-year-old activist from the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance collective was speaking on behalf of a community reeling from the loss of 441 Indigenous Australians in police custody since 1991. To date, not a single officer has been charged.

“This right here is not a protest, this is ceremony; this is lore; this is our responsibility,” she said, her anger and determination unshakeable. 

“The first point of cause for First Nations people when we mourn, is we sing them home,” Wharton said.

“Aunty Sherry”, as protesters have named the Birri Gubba woman out of respect for Indigenous culture that precludes the naming of deceased people, was 49 years old, and a mother of three. She was found dead in a cell at the Brisbane police station in the early hours of September 10. Arrested on property and drug matters four days earlier, she had appeared in court a day after her arrest and remanded in custody until October 7.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd told journalists that a post-mortem examination appeared to indicate “that the death was by natural causes,” but that the circumstances remained under investigation. 

For a community that has long pointed to the mistreatment and neglect of Indigenous people in custody, his comments brought little solace.

Protesters sat on the street outside Brisbane police headquarters. Aunty Sherry was the 441st Indigenous person to die in police custody since a landmark royal commission in 1991 [Margarite Clarey/Al Jazeera] 

“We’ve seen this, four hundred and forty-one times now,” said Wharton. “Systemic racism always cancels out the truth. Time and time again, police investigate police.”

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service says five Indigenous people have died in custody since June.

“This is a national emergency and we demand urgent national leadership,” NATSILS co-chair Nerita Waight said in a statement. “This lack of accountability means that in practice there is no penalty for the death of our people in custody. More police officers involved in deaths in custody have been promoted than convicted, but there cannot be justice without accountability.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise only 3 percent of Australia’s population, but they make up almost a third of adults jailed across the country.

The rates are even higher for Indigenous youth, who were 16 times more likely to be under youth justice supervision – in detention, or on bail, parole or probation – than non-Indigenous young people in 2018-19, according to the Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare, a government agency.

Human Rights Watch says the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system, which has increased by 9 percent since 2000, is often the result of minor offences like unpaid fines.

In a submission to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Australia, which is set for early 2021, the rights group says the government has failed to heed the recommendations laid out in the 1991 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and calls for an end to the “mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in police cells and prisons”.

Cries for change

The Black Lives Matter demonstrations set in motion by the death of George Floyd in the United States have brought renewed scrutiny to Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous people.

Australian actor Meyne Wyatt posed for a photo with his packing room prize-winning self-portrait at the Art Gallery of New South Wales wearing a ‘Justice for Aunty Sherry’ mask. Wyatt is the first Indigenous artist to claim any part of the prestigious Archibald Prize, which has been running for 99 years [Joel Carrett/EPA] 

In June, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in solidarity with US protesters, to demand justice for Indigenous lives lost in custody.

The Birri Gubba woman’s death sparked new marches in the city and 18 protesters were arrested after scuffles broke out in front of police headquarters. More rallies are planned later on Friday.

Aboriginal resident Phillip Murrii said that despite years of protests, the situation was only getting worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

“I’m a parent of a young daughter. She is more likely – after all of these years of us fighting on the street – to die, than I was at the same age. She is more likely to be imprisoned than I was at the same age. She is more likely to take her own life than I was at that age,” they said.

“Things are not getting better for our people; they are getting worse. 

“We are not getting on top of the system. The system is still on top of us. They still have their knees on our necks and they are still killing our people every day in this colony.

New targets were set in June to reduce Indigenous incarceration rates under a long-standing government initiative to “close the gap” on contributors such as health, education and employment inequalities.

Wharton says change will not happen until First Nations values and laws are acknowledged and made part of the solution.

“We did not dream no dreaming; we came from that dreaming,” she said, referring to the Aboriginal belief system on creation and the laws of existence.

Ruby Wharton addressed the crowd that gathered after the death of Aunty Sherry in police custody in Brisbane on September 10. She says the Indigenous community will not stop fighting for justice [Margarite Clarey/Al Jazeera]

“This is law, we live in multiple dimensions at the one time and we work to uphold our responsibility. When we bring those values to the front line and come up against systemic racism, based on a common and civil law legal system, what weapons have we got?

“The solution doesn’t exist in their system because that system don’t protect us,” she said.

Indigenous activists have renewed calls for the government to create a treaty process to negotiate with the clans and bring an end to Indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody. 

Meanwhile, Wharton said the community was not prepared to just sit around and wait for justice.

“We’ve said many, many names here,” she said. “We come back, time and time again. No matter how many times you kick us we get back up. That’s what Brisbane bla(c)ks do.”

ArtsHub’s Archibald, Wynne and Sulman predictions | ArtsHub Australia – ArtsHub

For those of you who love trivia: while the Archibald Prize was established in 1921, it was only in 1946 that the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) insisted upon pre-selecting the works. In that year, the more than half of the entries were eliminated, and the finalists’ exhibition was born.

As the popularity and notoriety of the “Archi” has grown over the past 99 years, that statistic has shifted from 50% to 5%. This year, 1068 entries were received for the 2020 Archibald Prize, with 55 making it into the finalist cut at the AGNSW. The previous record of 919 entries was set last year.


The Sulman Prize also set a new record, hitting 715 entries and topping out the 2012 high of 654 entries. It will be judged this year by artist Khadim Ali.

It was a record year all round. 2565 entries were received for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes collectively, beating the 2012 record of 2276 entries.

Perhaps this had a little to do with COVID, with more time on artist’s hands and the added incentive to have a go at the $100,000 win in financially tough times.

Read: 5 ways COVID has changed the Archibald Prize

This is also reflected in the fact that this year, there were more first time entrants than ever before: 40% for Archi; 50% for the Sulman and 33% for Wynne. And if you are interested: the gender breakdown overall was 48 female to 59 male artists across the suite of prizes.

The 2020 finalists for the three famed prizes were announced yesterday, along with another first – the winner of the 2020 Packing Room Prize was awarded to Wongutha-Yamatji artist Meyne Wyatt for his self-portrait Meyne. The West Australian born, Sydney-based Wyatt is an artist, writer and actor.

It is the first time an Indigenous artist has won any of the prizes in the Archibald suite.

His win follows a growing trend in recent years of artists’ portraits: 29 of the 55 Archi finalists are portraits of artists with 12 of those being self-portraits.

While the record number of entries suggest that COVID has had a huge impact, the spread of entries was strong from other states: second to NSW, 396 entries came from Victoria, 181 from Queensland, 64 from South Australia, 50 from Western Australia – and adding to a growing pool, though little known – eight from New Zealand.


Is there a science to painting a prize winner? Is it pure luck, or is it true that an elite cabal of known suspects tips the scales each year? Regardless of your thoughts, there are few trends worth noting in 2020.

There has not been a winning portrait of a politician in the Archibald Prize since 1992, when Bryan Westwood won the prize with an image of Paul Keating in a Zegna suit. Clearly politicians are être démodé – but are they really? A portrait of Jacinda Arden is a strong contender this year.

James Powditch’s painting of Anthony Albanese also made the finalists, though a portrait of Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t make the final cut.

As mentioned, portrayals of artists again form one of the strongest trends, though slightly down proportionally to last year. Maybe the realisation that the last four consecutive winners have been portraits of artists might mean the winning subject is due to shift.  

This year, new records were met in terms of First Nations artists, with 26 entries by Indigenous artists making the final cut and 10 Indigenous sitters, making for a more balanced and representational suite of prizes.

Artists can paint anyone from politicians to celebrities to sporting heroes, as long as the sitters are ‘of note’. Some of the celebrities in the 2020 line up are: Adam Liaw, Magda Szubanski, Deborah Conway, Adam Goodes, Bruce Pascoe, Claire Dunne, Timothy Flannery Graeme Doyle, Annabel Crabb, Maggie Tabberer, Jennifer Byrne, Chalres Madden, David Marr and more.

Read: Does being an Archibald finalist help?

Shifting scale, punchy colour and quirky approaches are key this year, and have been emphasised in the hang of the 2020 exhibition, where curator Anne Ryan has flipped expectations from the start, with visitors walking directly into the Sulman Prize – the smallest of the prizes in both entries and money, and usually tagged onto the end of the exhibition as a postscript.

We are then ushered through the Wynne, eventually entering the Archibald via a circuitous route, which is of course reserved for the central gallery and often the location of the winner.

What does this all mean? And can past trends and current kudos impact the judges’ choice? ArtsHub thinks so. And this is why.

John Ward Knox, Jacinda (detail), finalist, 2020 Archibald Prize. Image supplied.


Who: John Ward Knox

What: Jacinda

Why: I am going out on a limb on this one, and given its placement in the exhibition hang, it would suggest that it is probably not a contender – out of range of the central gallery and media mosh pit for the big unveil. But there is merit in this work by New Zealand artist John Ward Knox of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as its capacity to rethink the genre, that struck hard.

In many ways, the positioning and prowess of James Powditch’s painting of another politician – Once upon a time in Marrickville: Anthony Albanese – makes more sense as a contender; a regular finalist with high profile sitters in a signature style. Perhaps the suggestion would be that it is Powditch’s time. 

But I would argue that Knox’s portrait is the more interesting option. And it is both a strong psychological and physical match. Painted on layered silk in oil, it doesn’t have the weight we expect of a oil portrait, appearing a little like a mirage of hope on a calm horizon.

It doesn’t have the weight we expect of a oil portrait, appearing a little like a mirage of hope on a calm horizon.

Knox has known Ardern for a decade, long before she became PM, and that connection between artist and sitter, as well as the subject’s honesty, comes through here, with Ardern depicted sitting at her kitchen table.

The portrait captures the humanity and humility that the world has come to associate with Ardern, who in many ways has re-defined the parameters of global politics – and the medium here offers a reflection of that new approach.

The portrait is comprised of dual layers / dual portraits that delicately hover central to an exposed frame. It captures a fragility of politics and a commitment to take the empathic path, and within it a strength  to persist, to be different  should we choose to look. It is a very strong portrait, despite its quiet demeanor; a message that a win at this time would be welcomed in a world struggling with frailty.

Perhaps 2020 is ripe for another first: for the Archi to be awarded to a NZ artist?

ArtsHub Highly Commends: Julie Fragar’s steroid-sized portrait of artist Richard Bell (matching his personality) in black and white; Abdul Abdullah’s untitled self portrait; Jonathan Dalton’s painting of artist Angela Tiatia commands attention; for lovers of hyper-real portraits, Angus McDonald’s portrait of Behrouz Boochani leads the pack; and for a nice take on the genre, William Mackinnon’s portrait, Sunshine and Lucky (life).

The past seven winners have been:

  • Tony Costa with a portrait of former Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) Trustee Lindy Lee (2019);
  • Yvette Coppersmith with Self-portrait, after George Lambert (2018);
  • Mitch with a portrait of artist wife Agatha Gothe-Snape (2017);
  • Louise Hearman with a portrait of Barry [Humphries] (2016) – a first time entrant;
  • Nigel Milsom’s painting Judo house part 6 (the white bird) – a portrait of Milsom’s barrister Charles Waterstreet (2015);
  • Fiona Lowry’s portrait of art patron Penelope Seidler (2014);
  • Del Kathryn Barton with actor hugo [Weaving] (2013) – her second win (2008).

View the Archibald Prize 2020 finalists.

Aida Tomescu, Silent Spring (2020). 2020 Wynne Prize Finalist, Art Gallery of NSW. Image supplied.


Who: Aida Tomescu

What: Silent spring

Why: This is a gusty and visceral painting by Aida Tomescu – an artist who is intimately familiar with the Wynne Prize, having taken it in 2001, and the Sulman Prize in 1996. For this reason, one might suggest it is time for another winner to take the accolade, but with the past four years consecutively being awarded to Indigenous artists, there is also the suggestion that a broader look across the field of landscape painting traditions are due for a voice.

The field of Indigenous paintings from Country, however, are the lions’ share of Wynne entries: 16 of the 34 finalists (47%).

Tomescu’s painting curiously has a strong conversation with works by Noŋgirrŋa Marawili and Alec Baker and Peter Mungkuri, which hang in the same gallery space and bounce in a riotous field of pinks. 

It is, however, the knitty surface of Tomescu’s painting with its grit and luminosity that stands out. It doesn’t feel weighted by its gesture.

Tomescu describes her own connection to the conditions particular to the Australian landscape: ‘…the sheer expansiveness of the land, the splendour and severity of colour, and specifically the quality of light. In the extreme circumstances of 2019–20, each of those conditions was dramatically altered, practically and emotionally.’

The title Silent spring references the environmental science book by Rachel Carson published in 1962, and in that a timelessness regarding climate science and the need to care for our environment. As the world burns, this painting has a particular resonance to the landscape consideration in 2020.

ArtsHub Highly Commends: Timothy Cook’s Kulama – an initiation for young Tiwi people that coincides with the harvest of wild yam; friends and Lawmen, Alec Baker and Peter Mungkuri, on their incredible painting Nganampa Nguraa (our Country) – a very strong contender this year; Luke Sciberra’s painting that capture the white ashen aftermath of the bushfires, White Christmas, Bell NSW; Nicholas Blowers Savage’s entropy in Payne’s grey; Lucy O’Doherty’s sweet hazy little painting Afternoon light on coral house, which has a kind of warm nostalgic glow of sun-baked suburbia; and the incredible Noŋgirrŋa Marawili’s Lightning and the rock, always a winner in many’s eyes.

The past seven winners have been:

  • The last Wynne Prize was awarded to Sylvia Ken with her painting Seven Sisters (2019);
  • Yukultji Napangati in 2018.
  • Betty Kuntiwa Pumani won the prize in 2017
  • The Ken Family Collaborative (which also included Sylvia Ken) and their painting Seven Sisters picking up the award in 2016.
  • Natasha Bieniek’s tiny hyper-real painting won in 2015;
  • Michael Johnson’s expansive abstraction in 2014;
  • And for two years running, the Wynne was awarded to Imants Tillers (2013 & 2012).

View the Wynne Prize 2020 finalists.

Gareth Sansom, Looking for God in abstract art (2020). 2020 Sulman Prize Finalist, Art Gallery of NSW. Image supplied.


Who: Gareth Sansom

What: Looking for God in abstract art

Why: The quirkiest and least consistent of the Prizes, the Sulman is award to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

This painting by Melbourne artist Gareth Sansom just pops, with forms and gestures seemingly emerging from and levitating in front of the black canvas. In some moments the line is definitive and determined; at others there is a ghost-like quality that haunts the inner emotions of this painting.

With a religiosity, the words FAITH and INRI occupy the painting, calling into question notions of mortality in a world that is plagued by a pandemic.

Sansom explains: ‘My painting interrogates the idea that God may or may not be present in any situation,’ and then explains the work’s filmic references.

‘Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal has a returning knight playing chess with the Grim Reaper whilst seeking evidence that God exists. Ultimately the film asserts there will be no proof of God’s existence forthcoming. I haven’t attempted to examine any of this literally, but I do include some clues about the painting’s intentions – six pilgrims, six faces, INRI [a Latin inscription translated as ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’] and “faith” – which may conjure up ideas about my own mortality at age 80, or may be seen as red herrings within an abstract puzzle.’

ArtsHub Highly Commends: Philjames’ The General Lee (1984-2018) a nostalgic TV cluster that seems to surpass time to a new COVID reality; John Honeywill’s Hyperreal painting of a pink macaroon Ambrosia, which encountered on entry, keeps you salivating the length of your visit; and Tom Polo’s retreat and return (the arrival), which gets the scale and gesture perfectly balanced.

The past seven winners have been:

  • McLean Edwards with his quirky painting The first girl that knocked on his door (2019);
  • Aboriginal artist Kaylene Whiskey (2018);
  • Joan Ross’ Oh history, you lied to me (2017);
  • A domestic interior by Esther Stewart (2016)
  • Jason Phu’s ink on paper which looked at his Chinese heritage (2015)
  • Andrew Sullivan’s quirky hyper-real fantasy T-rex (tyrant lizard king) (2014),
  • And Victoria Reichelt’s image of a deer in a library, After (books) (2013).

View the Sulman Prize 2020 finalists.

The winners of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes will be announced 25 September in a virtual event. The exhibition will remain on show with timed ticketed entry until 10 January 2021.

Finalists in all Prizes will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW from 26 September 2020 to 10 January 2021, and finalists in the Archibald Prize 2020 will tour to regional Queensland and New South Wales from 22 January 2021:

Vibrancy, experimentation and risk in ACE Open’s survey of South Australian art – The Conversation AU

Review: If the future is to be worth anything, curated by Patrice Sharkey and Rayleen Forester, ACE Open

“If the future is to be worth anything” rings true as a question for many in Australia’s art world today. It is an apt title for this ambitious survey exhibition measuring the pulse of contemporary art in South Australia.

Partway through the gestation process for the artists making work for this survey, COVID-19 hit and artists retreated to their studios. But this has given a sharper focus to Patrice Sharkey and Rayleen Forester’s curatorial probe.

This is the fourth survey exhibition of contemporary South Australian artists over the last two decades, following much larger survey exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2000 and 2013, and the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (one of the two precursors to ACE Open) in 2010.

ACE Open’s gallery space is more confined, and gives an overview based on just ten artists and collectives. The resulting show feels more selective than its predecessors, but this exhibition displays an exciting and vibrant look at South Australia’s artists.

Diversity in themes and techniques

In 22 photo portraits, Carly Tarkari Dodd, a young Kaurna/Narungga and Ngarrindjeri artist, addresses head-on the offensive practice of categorising Aboriginality by skin colour.

Placed between the compelling photos are mirrored panels speaking back to the viewers with cruel racist text. The subjects of the portraits are overlaid with a signature Aboriginal iconography of dots, their faces showing a mix of emotions: from pride and optimism at a better future, to strength marred by weary endurance.

Carly Tarkari Dodd’s photographs address racism and pride, while Sandra Saunders looks at colonisation the museumification of Aboriginal culture. Sam Roberts/ACE Open

this photo cap doesn’t quite make sense

Senior Ngarrindjeri artist Sandra Saunders considers the destruction of wildlife from the recent bushfires in her meticulous oil painting, the Museum of Sorrow.

The impact of colonisation, climate change and environmental destruction have been her subjects in recent years in paintings produced in a naive, untutored style.

Here, Saunders has appropriated a European quasi-Vermeer style to speak back to colonialism’s litany of damage. Her painting of an entrance to a museum of natural history, populated by a small number of endangered animals, suggests the pressing issue of mammalian extinction and the museumification of Aboriginal culture.

Read more: Explainer: what is decolonisation?

A more spare aesthetic underpins Sundari Carmody’s and Kate Bohunnis’s sculptural installations. For Carmody, it is the creation of a precise architectural space for contemplation; for Bohunnis, the oppositional forces on her body from metal and latex are resolved in the rhythmic movement of a pendulum.

Emmaline Zanelli’s video explores her Nonna’s life in domestic and industrial workplaces.

Emmaline Zanelli’s video work looks at her Nonna’s life in domestic and industrial workplaces. Sam Roberts/ACE Open

The intergenerational legacy of memory is a conduit for shape-shifting images oscillating between realism and abstraction, drawing on the embrace of movement as the basis for a visual language from Italian futurisism.

The candy colours of Matt Huppatz’s trio of prints continue his investigation into the transgressive and liminal world of queer masculinity.

Matt Huppatz’s prints investigate queer masculinity, while Kate Bohunnis used her own body to create her sculpture work. Sam Roberts/ACE Open

Overlaid on each image of a nightclub scene is text: Lights and Music (Communicate), Lights and Music (Release), Lights and Music (Express). These allude to the affectionate language of a club scene oozing with sensory overload.

Experimentation runs through the exhibition, and writing from fine print magazine under editors Forester and Joanne Kitto adheres to this, their performative style of criticism and text becoming an exhibit itself.

Yusuf Ali Hayat invites the viewer to step through his perspex doors. Sam Roberts/ACE Open

Another work steeped in experimentation is Yusuf Ali Hayat’s interactive, interlocking perspex doors in Baab Al-Salaam, the name referencing a gate at Mecca. Each door is anchored in an Islamic geometry of five diamonds, and covered in a dichroic filter, altering visibility.

Read more: Hajj: how globalisation transformed the market for pilgrimage to Mecca

Hayat approaches his work from a migrant’s outsider perspective. In inviting audience members to pass through the doors, he explores the universality in his personal experience.

Tutti artists show an eclectic range of work, some drawing on found materials as in James Kurtze’s The Kooky Time Machine, while Aida Azin’s arresting street culture painting Toodles Galore is an in-your-face confrontation with racism, sexism and cultural imperialism.

The conundrum of the human condition

It is surprising, given the shift to globalism, there have been four narrowly focused survey exhibitions of contemporary South Australian artists over the last two decades. It seems there are more artists per capita in this state than elsewhere in the nation.

This may explain the intense scrutiny of contemporary practice in these shows, or it may reflect a geographical anxiety, but it differs from the accepted practice in Australia where survey exhibitions tend to be national rather than state-based.

Sundari Carmody’s In the Air sits in the front gallery of ACE Open. Sam Roberts/ACE Open

A few more mid-career and senior artists would have added depth, balance and a sense of comprehensive coverage to the exhibition. Nevertheless there is vibrancy, experimentation and risk, supported by a philosophy of decolonisation and transcultural ethics.

The exhibition reflects the lively breadth of practice and exploration of ideas in contemporary practice in South Australia. As the Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor reminded us, artists “try to find ways in which their ideas and art can explore the eternal conundrum of the human condition”.

In this moment of COVID, this reflection has been heightened by artists working more within their own radius of daily life.

If The Future Is To Be Worth Anything is at ACE Open, Adelaide, until December 12

Are these kangaroos Australia’s earliest oil paintings? – The Australian Financial Review

“These two paintings have been hanging in the Hunterian Museum for more than 200 years,” Ms Roff said.

“They are repeatedly labelled by the long-term curator as oils, ‘painted in New Holland from the life’ by John Lewin who was the first anatomically trained settler artist to work in Sydney. If he did in fact paint them they would be the earliest oil paintings made in Australia.”

Ms Roff said the kangaroos were consistent with Lewin’s style, including because of white shadings and “anglified” landscapes.

Lewin is known to have painted in watercolour until about 1813, but Roff thinks the paintings are earlier and has called for them to undergo scientific examination to establish their materials and links to Australia. The museum has an extensive collection of anatomical specimens, fossils, paintings and drawings.

Previous depictions of kangaroos were painted in London, based on animals kept in exotic collections. Hunterian Museum

The Stubbs kangaroo and a painting of a dingo, made after Captain James Cook’s first voyage to Australia, were the subject of a high-profile ownership battle in 2013. The National Gallery of Australia was blocked by the UK government from acquiring them in a $10 million sale.

The kangaroo helped guide the design of Australia’s earliest coat of arms, and is now part of Britain’s National Maritime Museum collection.

“The Hunterian is currently closed for refurbishments until late 2022,” Ms Roff said.


“Given the way the Stubbs paintings were denied to Australia, it would be a fitting time to offer these two paintings for exhibition, perhaps tour, of Australia while their provenance is being investigated.”

The kangaroo by George Stubbs, subject of a high-profile ownership battle in 2013. 

A former curator of the Hunterian Museum, Caroline Grigson, has expressed doubt about the theory the works are by John Lewin or that they were painted “in situ” in Australia.

Dawn Kemp, director of museums of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, welcomed debate about the kangaroos.

‘’We are very interested in Sue’s research into the kangaroo paintings; it is always welcome to get greater understanding of objects in the RCS collections,” she said.

“The Hunterian Museum is currently closed, due a major redevelopment, and will reopen in late 2022 but we especially held back the paintings from going into store for Sue to assess them.”

What’s On NEAR ME

long water: fibre stories