2020 NPPP and Darling Portrait Prize People’s Choice Awards

The online votes have been counted, and the winners of the National Portrait Gallery’s 2020 National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) and Darling Portrait Prize People’s Choice Awards have been announced.

Congratulations David Darcy; winner of the $10,000 Darling Portrait Prize People’s Choice for his portrait of his neighbour, 86-year-old farmer and environmentalist Wendy Bowman who has endured three decades of battling the multinational mining companies that surround her property. She has been evicted and relocated but continues to fight for the rights of landholders. ‘The portrait expresses a life of experience, vitality and resilience,’ says John Liangis, of the Liangis family, founding benefactors of the National Portrait Gallery.

On winning, Darcy said he was overwhelmed: ‘There are so many amazing artists and works in the exhibition. Wendy is a strong woman with incredible character and painting her was an absolute joy. She has been an advocate for the environment for forty years, and has done so much for the community.’

David Darcy, Wendy Bowman, 2019. Courtesy the artist and National Portrait Gallery, Australian Capital Territory

Congratulations Klarissa Dempsey; winner of the NPPP People’s Choice for Wonder, a portrait of her daughter Tayla playing on Country homelands near Alice Springs.

‘High-spirited, mischievous, intelligent, curious: these are some of the words that come to mind while thinking of her. Tayla always asks questions and needs to know the ‘why’; I love that about her. I love that she is one of the kindest souls you will ever meet, with the most caring heart. This moment was captured on Country homelands, where Tayla spends her time playing endlessly with her brothers and sister and cousins, riding bikes, walking to the creeks, playing with the dogs and being carefree,’ reflects Dempsey who will receive Fine Art printing to the value of $2,200 thanks to SUNSTUDIOS.

Klarissa Dempsey, Wonder, 2019. Courtesy the artist and National Portrait Gallery, Australian Capital Territory

NPG Director Karen Quinlan AM said; ‘While the gallery was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were thrilled to see so many people voting for the prizes online – more than 7,000 votes were cast.

‘These Prize exhibitions are extremely important – a way artists can have their work shown in a national gallery, alongside their peers, and for audiences, a diverse and uniquely Australian insight into the art of portraiture. The subjects of the two People’s Choice Award winners affirm this – from the spirited charm of Klarissa Dempsey’s Tayla in Wonder, and the wise gaze captured by David Darcy of Wendy Bowman, who I suspect has seen much in her life,’ Quinlan said.

Now that the NPG has reopened in Canberra, the NPPP and Darling Portrait Prize exhibitions are on show until 26 July 2020.