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Introducing ‘Artists CAN:' new CANberra exhibition

Work by Elizabeth Barden, Anthea de Silva, Sibone Heary, Sean Hutton, Kathrin Longhurst and Gene Hart-Smith

Welcome to ‘Artists CAN’, as it is International Womens Day 2020 it is exciting to launch with articles featuring Liz Gridley, Michele Murtaugh and Tamara Armstrong. These will be closely followed by interviews with Tom Hermann, Cheney Lansard and Daire Lynch, and much more creative content yet to come!

Please enjoy insights into their creative worlds.

It is also timely to mention Australia’s newest portrait prize, the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize held at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. So named in honour the gallery’s founding patron, L Gordon Darling AC CMG (1921-2015) who shared the conviction with his wife Marilyn Darling AC to ensure the gallery become a reality.

Now entering its 21st year, the Australian National Portrait Gallery has officially opened the exhibition of the 40 finalists selected by the panel of judges, Karen Quinlan AM, Director National Portrait Gallery, Tony Elwood AM, Director National Gallery of Victoria and Professor Denise Ferris, Head of the school of Art and Design at the Australian National University.

Dr Helen Nugent AO, Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery, said ‘The prize will recognise the significance and relevance of portraiture in Australia’. Artists were able to paint any Australian citizen or resident and/or a person or persons who have a strong association with Australia or who has made a significant contribution to Australian life. In Karen Quinlan’s view the Darling is ‘an exhibition about Australian Identity’.

Marilyn Darling, in awarding the prize at the dinner held on March 5, declared that the Australian National Portrait Gallery is ‘ground zero’ for portraiture’. She said a shared vision had come to fruition. ‘Not only do we have a globally significant portrait gallery, we have a prize that will recognise artists and highlight our unique identity’.

Aligning with International Women’s Day call to action with #generationequality, it is notable that the winner of the $75,000 prize was Anthea da Silver with her portrait of dancer, choreographer and environmental activist, Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM. Of the 40 finalists, representing all states and territories of Australia, 24 were female and 16 were male. The judges also awarded three Highly Commended awards, to Sean Hutton, Siobone Heary and David Darcy.

The exhibition is open until May 10, 2020. Voting is now open on-line and in the gallery for the People’s Choice Award. All finalists may be viewed at:

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