The nation’s most prestigious portrait prize, the Archibald, has revealed its 57 finalists for 2023, with one award already being announced.
From nearly 950 entries into this year’s competition, experts and judges have whittled down the final works which will go on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.
The finalist’s announcement marks the start of ‘Archies season’, with the full list of winners set to be announced on Friday, 5 May for the Archibald, Wynne, and Sulman prizes. The winning painting will take home the $100,000 prize for a portrait, painted from life, of a person “distinguished in art, letters, science, or politics” by an Australian artist.
The 57 portraits that have made it to the finals will go on display at the gallery from 6 May to 3 September at the showing sponsored by ANZ.
For the first time in the prizes’ 102-year history this year, more female artists have made it through to the finals than male artists. 30 of the 37 works are by women, while the number of entrants and finalist works by Indigenous artists across the three prizes has hit a new historic high.
Finalists this year include street artist Matt Adnate’s portrait of Daniel Johns, the lead singer of the band Silverchair, two-time Archibald finalist Marie Mansfield’s portrait of Ronni Kahn, the founder of OzHarvest, and Judith Sinnamon’s portrait of the Guardian’s Political Editor, Katharine Murphy.
Following the Art Gallery exhibition, the Archibald Prize 2023 will tour six venues in Victoria and regional NSW.
You can see the full list of the finalists and their portraits here.
Archibald 2023 Packing Room Prize Winner
A portrait of New Zealand-born comedian Cal Wilson by Cairns-based artist Andrea Huelin has won this year’s Packing Room Prize. Huelin’s painting is one of the Archibald Prize finalists.
Now in its 32nd year, the Packing Room Prize is a $3000 cash prize awarded to the best entry in the Archibald Prize as judged by the Art Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries.
Former head packer Brett Cuthbertson retired in 2022, passing the baton to the ‘Packing Room pickers’ – three members of the Packing Room team, Timothy Dale, Monica Rudhar and Alexis Wildman, who together selected Huelin’s winning artwork for the Packing Room Prize 2023.
Unlike Cuthbertson, who held a 52 per cent vote, Dale, Rudhar and Wildman each have an equal vote. They worked together this year to build a shortlist before selecting their very first Packing Room Prize winner.
“Andrea’s work jumped out at us as soon as it arrived. The bright colours really popped, and we immediately recognised Cal as a familiar face,” said Wildman in a statement.
“Cal’s been such a mainstay on Australian television for two decades. We love the interesting pose and unique headwear and, in the tradition of the Packing Room Prize, Andrea’s painting looks like Cal! This is a great, joyful portrait of someone who has brought so much laughter to Australia.”
‘Clown Jewels’ is the first entry into the Archibald Prize for the Perth-born artist. Originally a journalist and broadcaster, Huelin followed her love of art and embarked on a career change into arts administration and marketing in Queensland before deciding to take up the paintbrush herself. She is best known for her colourful paintings of objects and scenes from everyday life.