The Lester Prize 2020 finalists announced

Congratulations to all 40 finalists chosen for Western Australia’s premier portrait prize – The Lester Prize; announced via social media at 5pm (AWST), Friday 14 August.

This year’s Main Awards Panel comprises Western Australian artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah; AGWA Associate Curator, Projects Rachel Ciesla; Alan R Dodge AM; Perth based arts writer and curators Gemma Weston and Laetitia Wilson. They said, ‘we were impressed with the standard of works this year. Artists were keen to explore the intricate and multi-layered connections between home, identity and everyday life in the contemporary world. Life stories and solitude provided a particularly rich source of inspiration, and it was interesting to see how COVID-19 has put a new twist on autobiographical narratives and the sharing of many deeply personal memories and everyday experiences.’

Nick Stathopoulos, Pantone black 7, Judith Martinez Estrada, acrylic and oil on linen, 71 x 61cm

The Lester Prize professional, emerging and young artists from across Australia to submit portraits of an Australian, or Australians, that they respect or admire, or a self-portrait. This year, artists were allowed to submit an unlimited number of portraits (instead of a maximum of two) and, due to physical distancing restrictions, works could be created from a photograph instead of from ‘life’ – with the subject’s approval.

Media such as oil, acrylic, watercolour, charcoal, ink, mixed media and embroidery will feature heavily in this year’s collection.

With a prize pool worth almost $85,000, including the main prize of $50,000, categories include:

The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges) | $50,000 cash;
Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) | $10,000 cash;
Minderoo Foundation Artist Prize | $10,000 cash;
Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $7,500 cash;
Highly Commended x 2 (selected by a panel of judges) | $1,000 cash, $550 domestic art transport voucher, $500 framing voucher plus $250 art supplies voucher each x 2.

Jill Ansell, Jack of all trades, Eric John Russell Nidd, oil on board and assemblage, 12 x 18cm

The 2020 Lester Prize finalists are Willie Ackerman, Daevid Anderson, Jill Ansell, Elizabeth Barden, Anthony Bartok, Sam Broadhurst, Filippa Buttitta, Thomas Chandler, Doreen Chapman, Rachel Coad, Joshua Cocking, Daniel Connell, Serena Cowie, Jaye Early, Stacey Evangelou, Kierah Falkner Babbel, Sebastian Galloway, Indra Geidans, Andrea Huelin, Sean Hutton, Janne Kearney, Kate Kurucz, Jess Le Clerc, Fiona O’Byrne, Michael O’Connell, Nicole O’Loughlin, Sid Pattni, Lynn Savery, Oliver Shepherd, Lauren Snowden, Craig Soulsby, Loribelle Spirovski, Nick Stathopoulos, Zoë Sydney, Jill Talbot, Wade Taylor, Datsun Tran, Ordella Wall, Marcus Wills and Jonathon Woolven.

Their works will be on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 31 October to 29 November 2020 with the winners announced on 30 October 2020. Works will be available for viewing online from 19 August onward.

Also announced were the 30 Youth Award finalists selected from High Schools across the country. The Semi-Finalists’ Salon (an exhibition of over 45 artworks not selected for the Main Awards Exhibition) will allow the public to experience the full variety of works submitted. These will be presented digitally as part of The Lester Prize’s ‘On The Big Screen’ program and on 2.4m high outdoor exhibition boxes at Brookfield Place and other locations around the Perth CBD during November.

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