Kylie Melinda Smith wins the 2019 Portia Geach People’s Choice Award

Sydney-based artist Kylie Melinda Smith has won the ‘2019 Portia Geach People’s Choice Award’ with a portrait of 104-year-old dancer Eileen Kramer.

The $1,000 People’s Choice for the ‘Portia Geach Memorial Award Exhibition’ at S.H. Ervin Gallery is given in memory of Harry & Winifred Macorison by Dr Heather Macorison & Ms Hilary Macorison.

Kylie Melinda Smith, Eileen Kramer

On her portrait, Smith writes: ‘Eileen Kramer is one of the most inspirational Australians alive today. At 104 years of age, Eileen is actively engaged in the arts. A true bohemian, she is a celebrated dancer, choreographer, costume designer, painter and writer along with artists model. After more than 50 years abroad, dancing her way through India, Pakistan, New York City, and West Virginia USA, at the age of 99, Eileen decided that it was time to come home. To hear the kookaburras again. We have become close friends and the hours I spend with her are as delightful and rich as any human connection could be. Her humour, beauty, and intelligence are all a constant source of inspiration. An issue with balance makes it hard for Eileen to stand so she now prefers to dance sitting down. Eileen sees this as just another creative challenge. Painting Eileen was, indeed an honour. We are both alumni of The Art Students League in New York City – Eileen, as an artist’s model, and me a student of atelier drawing and painting. Eileen’s creativity and knowledge of the arts allow her to understand the process of painting, making her the perfect subject.’

Kylie Melinda Smith with sitter Eileen Kramer. Photo credit: Sarah Kukathas, Document Photography

An exhibition of the 57 finalist works is open at S.H. Ervin Gallery until 15 September 2019.