From paintings to photography, the National Portrait Gallery’s award season begins


Whether you prefer your portraits in the classic paint-on-paper variety or in photographic form, the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has unveiled the finalists in two of Australia’s top portrait awards.

So whatever your preference, now is the time to take in some of the most catchy images of the year.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) is one of the most popular photography competitions in the country. Founded in 2007, the highly anticipated annual event has offered significant cash and material prizes to professional, amateur and aspiring Australian photographers.

Flora and Fauna, Giara: White Cockatoo, 2021 Luther Cora. Thanks to the artist.

But if you prefer to look at portraits in a more classically painted form, the prestigious Darling Portrait Prize is also running on the NPG during the same period.

The biennial event honors the legacy of Mr L Gordon Darling AC CMG, who was instrumental in the founding of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, and nurtures the art of Australian portrait painting. The Darling Portrait Prize offers a generous cash prize of $75,000 to the winner, in addition to the Honorable Mention, the Art Handlers’ Award and the People’s Choice Award.

NPG Director Karen Quinlan and fellow judges Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery London, and Clothilde Bullen, Head of Indigenous Programs at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, have selected 39 finalists for the 2022 exhibition, which will be on view are from June 25 to October 9. The winner will be announced on June 24.

Sabine Desrondaux – Letter Woman, 2021 Tony Sowersby.

Karen said the judges were impressed with the diversity of approaches, subjects and artistic styles from the pool of nearly 600 entrants.

“We approach the Darling Prize democratically, with the idea that artists from all career stages, working across genres and artistic styles, are invited to present portraits of all Australians. Sitters and performers are not expected to be known – what we’re looking for are exceptional artistic depictions of our wide and diverse community.

“The inaugural 2020 exhibition provided a broad view of the faces and characters that make up contemporary Australian life, and we were able to acquire several pieces for the NPG collection, including Anthea de Silva’s winning portrait of dance master Dr. Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, and a portrait of writer Tim Winton, among others, by Sally Robinson. The 2022 Darling Portrait Prize finalists are listed here.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize has chosen 50 finalists from a field of more than 2,400 entries. The winner will be judged by renowned press photographer Nick Moir, along with Sandra Bruce, the National Portrait Gallery’s director of collections and exhibitions, and Rebecca Ray, chief curator of the National Portrait Gallery.

Siegi, 2020 Steph Connell. Thanks to the artist.

Sandra Bruce said the match always produced a range of emotions.

“Australia is a country of many faces, and as we continue to live in disruptive times, this year’s National Photographic Portrait Prize offers a broad view of the country’s experience, one that reminds us that our lives go on regardless of the wider circumstances. .”

The NPPP winner will be announced on July 1 and will take home $50,000 in prizes: $30,000 cash from the National Portrait Gallery and $20,000 worth of Canon equipment courtesy of Imaging Partner Canon Australia.

The People’s Choice winner will receive $5,000 thanks to the David Roche Foundation, while the Art Handler’s Award winners announced last week will receive $2,000 thanks to the IAS Fine Art Logistics. 2022 NPPP finalists are listed here.

Two works to keep an eye out for are the winners of the Prizes’ Art Handlers Awards – selected by the team responsible for the NPG collection and putting the exhibits on display as their favorite works.

Weight of the Mind, 2021 Jane Allan.

Jane Allan’s portrait of her caretaker Warren, titled Weight of the periapt of the mind 2021, won the 2022 Darling Portrait Prize Art Handler’s Award. NPG Collection Manager Maria Ramsden and Collection Administrator Renee Joyce said:

“One of the rare drawbacks of working with art every day is that you can become desensitized to the sheer beauty and power of artwork. Every now and then a work can remind you of that, by making an effort and enjoying the pleasure, curiosity and joy that art can offer. Weight of the periapt of the mind that was work for us.”

Weight of the Mind, 2021 Jane Allan.

Adam Haddrick’s portrait of native elder Cordy, titled Cordy in the clouds 2021, won the National Photographic Portrait Prize Art Handlers Award 2022. NPG Collection Officers Jess Kemister and Jacob Potter were mesmerized by Adam Haddrick’s portrait of Cordy, saying the photo “captures a still and still moment, a sense of calm and the peaceful energy of the You can look at this work for a long time.”

Finalists for the Darling Portrait Prize and the National Photographic Portrait Prize can be seen from Saturday, June 25 through Sunday, October 9.

Feature image: The shuttle, 2021 Andrew Rovenko. Thanks to the artist.

The essentials

What: 2022 Prize Season at the National Portrait Gallery
When: June 25 to October 9.
Tickets: $15 adults, $12 concession, available here. Reservation necessary with tickets that give access to both prize exhibitions.