2020 Wynne and Sulman Prize winners

The Wynne Prize is awarded annually for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists. This year, we congratulate Hubert Pareroultja for winning the $50,000 prize for his painting Tjoritja (West MacDonnell Ranges, NT).

A Western Aranda man from the Northern Territory, Pareroultja’s painting represents the story of the giant caterpillars called the Yeperenye that became Tjoritja (West MacDonnell Ranges in the distant past).

Wynne Prize 2020 winner: Hubert Pareroultja, Tjoritja (West MacDonnell Ranges, NT), acrylic on canvas, 183 x 244cm © the artist. Photograph: AGNSW, Mim Stirling

‘When I heard the story of my winning, I was in shock. It was like I was somewhere else, in outer space. The work is really detailed. I put in a lot of details, and it was hard work. I like it this way,’ Pareroultja said.

Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) Director Michael Brand said: ‘The way he has taken the Hermannsburg watercolour tradition onto a large canvas is breathtaking, as is the way he infuses a familiar looking landscape with such deep spiritual meaning. Hubert’s win marks an important moment for landscape painting in Australia.’

Additional wins include: Nyunmiti Burton has been recognised as a highly commended finalist in the Wynne Prize 2020 and winner of the 2020 Roberts Family Prize for her work Seven Sisters. The Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize is an annual prize of $10,000 to be awarded to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist for their work entered into the Wynne Prize. Burton, who lives in Amata, an Aboriginal community in the APY Lands in South Australia, is the third recipient of the prize, which was established in 2018.  Finalists in the Wynne Prize are also eligible for the $5,000 Trustees’ Watercolour Prize which, this year, has been awarded to Sydney-based artist Julianne Ross Allcorn for Mollitium 2, a watercolour triptych that celebrates the resilience of the Australian bush – from the threat of fire, to escape and regrowth.

We also congratulate Marikit Santiago; winner of the 2020 Sulman Prize for her work The divine.

The $40,000 Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist. Each year the trustees of the AGNSW invite a guest artist to judge; in 2020 artist Khadim Ali selected 18 finalists for the Sulman Prize.

On hearing that her work The divine had been awarded the Sulman Prize 2020 winner, western Sydney artist Santiago said she is absolutely thrilled: ‘I’m honoured to be awarded the Sir John Sulman Prize, especially with such a deeply personal work made about and with my three children. I share this win with them, and because of them,’ said Santiago. The painting portrays Santiago’s three children, who often collaborate with her in her creative processes – the pen and paint markings in this piece were made by Maella (aged 5), Santiago (aged 3) and Sarita (aged 1).

Sulman Prize 2020 winner: Marikit Santiago, The divine, acrylic, oil, pen, pyrography and 18ct gold leaf on ply, 179.5 x 120.5cm © the artist. Photograph: AGNSW, Jenni Carter

The divine is rich in content with many layers: ‘Marikit is known for touching upon controversial social, religious and political issues relating to her cultural and social background. Her works reflect the multiple layers of her ethnic and social identity and demonstrates both impressions of acceptance and rejection.

‘She has been able to visualise and express the theological and historical myths about the creation and expulsion of human with the power of contemporary mediums. She has chosen her three children not only as the subject matter but also as collaborators of this painting. The elements of the work are fused together in a powerful visual language,’ said Ali.

All finalists in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2020 will be exhibited at the AGNSW from 26 September 2020 to 10 January 2021.