From over 360 entries a list of 54 finalists has been announced for the country’s most distinguished portrait prize for female artists, the Portia Geach Memorial Award. The $30,000 annual prize is administered by the Award Trustee Perpetual.
The 2017 finalists are; Jessica Alexander, Esmeralda Raven Aponte, JA Arnott, Danelle Bergstrom, Jo Bertini, Kate Beynon, Kate Birrell, Cynthia Breusch, Claire Bridge, Filippa Buttitta, Ann Cape, Louisa Chircop, Yvette Coppersmith, Amanda Davies, Sinead Davies, Nicolette Eisdell, Esther Erlich, Rosa Fedele, Marina Finlay, Leah Fraser, Jaq Grantford, Kyra Henley, Sophia Hewson, Michelle Hiscock, Pollyxenia Joannou, Kate Kurucz, Kim Leutwyler, Kathrin Longhurst, Susan Ma, Alison Mackay, Marie Mansfield, Matilda Michell, Camelia Morris, Kirsty Neilson, Nicolette Page, Effie Pryer, Lucy Pulvers, Marian Quigley, Victoria Reichelt, Shaz Rhodes, Melissa Ritchie, Sally Ross, Wendy Sharpe, Loribelle Spirovski, Kate Stevens, Vanessa Stockard, Clare Thackway, Caroline Thew, Deborah Walker, Mirra Whale, Christine Wrest Smith, Zoe Young, Lucila Zentner and Caroline Zilinsky.
Some of the well-known sitters for this year’s award include John Bell, Natalie Bassingthwaite, Lior, Pru Goward, Anthony Mundine David Williamson, Leon Fink & Marieke Hardy.
Established in 1961 by Florence Kate Geach, in memory of her sister, artist Portia Geach, the Portia Geach Memorial Award recognises an Australian female artist for the best portrait painted from life of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters or the sciences.
Born in 1873 in Melbourne, Portia Geach studied with John Singer Sargent and Lawrence Alma-Tadema in London and was also a lifelong activist for women’s rights. She established the Housewives Progressive Association of New South Wales, The Housewives Magazine in 1933 and the Progressive Journal two years later to promote issues such as equal pay for women and the right to hold public office.
The judging panel for this year’s award comprised of Geoff Ainsworth AM and Samantha Meers, Trustees of Art Gallery of New South Walesas well as Jane Watters, Director S.H Ervin Gallery.
The winner of the 2017 Portia Geach Memorial Award will be revealed on 19 October with an exhibition of all finalists open for viewing by the public from 20 October at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney.