Forty finalists announced for ‘The Lester Prize’ 2019

From 400 entries for ‘The Lester Prize’ this year, 40 artists from around Australia have been selected as finalists for the exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA). Among the artists 15 are from Western Australia, ten from Victoria, nine from New South Wales and the remaining six are from across Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Works were submitted in a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolour, graphite, woodcut print and mixed media, ranging from self-portraits to representations of people who have played a significant part in the artist’s lives.

Phillip Edwards, Me, I and Mystics Morning, Self-portrait. Finalist 2019. Courtesy the artist and The Lester Prize, Western Australia

The Pre-Selection Panel, Olga Cironis, Dr Darren Jorgensen, Dunja Rmandić, Mark Stewart and Toni Wilkinson noted that ‘The diverse cultural and personal narratives presented were revealing of our contemporary world today – it certainly made the selection process challenging. The works uncovered stories of self-reflection, struggle over hardship and unique insights, which will hopefully ignite imaginations and evoke emotions with the viewing public.’

The finalists are: Jordan Andreotta, Lisa Axiotis, Antoinette Barbouttis, Elizabeth Barden, Natasha Ber, Julie-Ann Brown, Jeff Bryant, Elle Campbell, Doreen Chapman, Joshua Cocking, Daveena Cox, Patrick Cremin, Martie Curtis, Phillip Edwards, Stacey Evangelou, Sharman Feinbeg, Sebastian Galloway, Jenni Gray, Benjamin Howe, Sean Hutton, Stephanie Jowett, Nicole Kelly, Torsten Knorr, Stacey Korfiatis, Rosemary lee, Camilla Loveridge, Harry McAlpine, Andrew Nicholls, Emi Ninoseki, Liam Nunan, Nicole O’Loughlin, Lori Pensini, Rebecca Pierce, Kendall Pike, Lynn Savery, Oliver Shepherd, Liz Stute, Wade Taylor, Justine Wake and Narelle Zeller.

Stacey Evangelou, the Coastal Cowboy. Subject: Ben Debono. Finalist 2019. Courtesy the artist and The Lester Prize, Western Australia.

A total prize pool of over $77,000 is available to emerging and professional artists across four categories: ‘The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture’, The ‘Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize’, the ‘Baldock Family People’s Choice’ and two ‘Highly Commended’ awards.

Also, 30 high school-aged children from around Australia have been chosen as finalists in ‘The Lester Prize for Portraiture’s Youth’ competition and will be displayed at Brookfield Place’s Tower 2, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth from 28 October to 29 November, as part of The Lester Prize Youth Exhibition with the winner to be announced on 13 November.

In 2019The Black Swan Prize for Portraiture’ was renamed ‘The Lester Prize’ in honour of the award’s leading patron, Richard Lester AM and the award is celebrating its 13th anniversary in 2019 and will be presented for the fourth year running at AGWA.

‘The Lester Prize’ winners will be announced on 8 November at the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s opening event, tickets go on sale in late September. The exhibition of the 40 finalists’ works will be on view in the Centenary Galleries at AGWA from 9 November to 9 December 2019.