Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes winners

ICYMI, the winners of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes have been announced.


Congratulations to Blak Douglas for winning the Archibald Prize 2022 and $100,000 for his portrait of good friend and fellow artist, Wiradjuri woman Karla Dickens, titled Moby Dickens.

Douglas becomes the second Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald Prize in 101 years after Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira won in 2020, and Moby Dickens is the first time a portrait of an Aboriginal woman has won the prize; “It’s a major historic win,” says Douglas. “Karla is my favourite female First Nations artist, we are dear friends, we are birds of a feather when it comes to our sentiment in art, and I really admire the way she pieces together her work.

Winner Archibald Prize 2022: Blak Douglas, Moby Dickens, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 300 x 200cm. Sitter: Karla Dickens. Photograph: © AGNSW, Mim Stirling. © the artist

Douglas depicted Dickens in the recent floods in her hometown of Lismore in northern New South Wales, which devastated her community; “It just happens that I was there in Lismore immediately after the first deluge in January and saw the shock and horror on people’s faces,’ says Douglas. “Karla had just reached a pivotal point in her career and almost immediately the flood catastrophe happened. So, when she should have ordinarily been excited about where her career was going, she was harbouring three families in Lismore as part of her own rescue mission.”

Dickenss adds, “The painting – Moby Dickens – is a grumpy white sperm whale in muddy water ready to rip the leg off any fool with a harpoon who dares come too close. His painting not only has an incredible likeness to me and my mood in the last three months, but this killer work pays homage to each and every person who has found themselves knee deep in mud, physically, emotionally, mentally and financially after the natural disaster that has destroyed so many lives in the Northern Rivers of NSW and beyond.

“Let art be our witness – let Blak Douglas be acknowledged for the Dhungatti deadly visionary he is. Your old stand with you today.”

Moby Dickens – which at 3m x 2m is the largest Archibald painting in this year’s exhibition.

Highly commended – Archibald Prize
This year a highly commended honour was awarded to Sydney artist Jude Rae for her portrait of scientist, engineer and inventor Dr Saul Griffith.

Wynne Prize

The Wynne Prize is Australia’s oldest art prize and 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.”

Winner Wynne Prize 2022: Nicholas Harding, Eora, oil on linen, 196.5 x 374.8cm. © the artist. Photograph: © AGNSW, Mim Stirling

Nicholas Harding said his painting is a confluence of landscape around Narrabeen Lakes on Sydney’s northern beaches and Sailors Bay walk on Sydney Harbour. “My favoured pandanus trees are harbingers for the cabbage palms, while the ferns are influenced by our courtyard ferns that were shadowed by a neighbour’s eucalypt but perished when exposed to the sun’s heat after the tree was removed. Leafless fern trunks haunt Eora as warnings for the consequences of land-clearing. The locations observed for this landscape are now small, dwindling pockets amongst suburban developments. The dragonflies, which are not easy to find, are symbols of change, transformation, adaptability and self-realisation,” shares Harding.

“Eora stands as a memorial to how extraordinary the landscape must have been before white people got here and invaded the place and encroached on the landscape itself.”

Highly commended – Wynne Prize

This year two highly commended honours were awarded to Lucy Culliton for her painting Mooresprings, a good season, and Juz Kitson for her sculpture An unwavering truth. She walks in beauty, of the night and all that’s best of dark and bright. In memory of the wildfires.

Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize – Wynne Prize
Sally Scales, a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pipalyatjara in the far west of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia, has been awarded the 2022 Roberts Family Prize for her work Wati Tjakura. The annual prize of $10,000 is awarded to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist.

Sulman Prize 2022

Collaborative duo, Blue Mountains-based Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro have won the Sulman Prize 2022 with their work Raiko and Shuten-dōji, depicting the fight between Japanese warrior Raiko and the demon Shuten-dōji painted on the fuselage of a Vietnam War-era helicopter.

 They are the first collaborative duo to win the Sulman Prize, a $40,000 award for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist and is judged by a guest artist each year. This year’s Sulman Prize judge was artist Joan Ross, who selected twenty-one finalists. About the winning work, Ross said, “I immediately felt the dynamism of this work, its curved metal surface, its physical quality and beauty, its conceptual nature. I really loved it – I couldn’t go past it.”

Winner Sulman Prize 2022: Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Raiko and Shuten-dōji, acrylic gouache, jute and tape on helicopter shell, 159.5 x 120cm. Photograph: © AGNSW, Mim Stirling. © the artist

 Japanese folk design is often painted on kites, however Healy and Cordeiro – known for creating works with a playful sense of humour and using found objects – painted Raiko and Shuten-dōji on the fuselage of a Vietnam War-era helicopter.

It’s actually an army surplus helicopter from the Australian army,” they said. “In our work we use vehicles as a sign or symbol, so a lot of our work does think about processes, systems and vehicles are part of a human system that we are interested in,” they said. “It is the reverse evolution: the way that we’ve handled this piece of helicopter panel is about an aeroplane or helicopter taking you to another place, or something that will take you elsewhere. So we’ve painted upon the surface and turned it back into a kite.

This whole body of work was made in isolation so we thought about the kite as being a drop pin, something that locates you in the here and now, unlike an aeroplane which might take you elsewhere, the kite actually located you right where you are standing.”

All finalists in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2022 will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 14 June to August 2022.

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