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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Prizes

29 January 2020

And the finalists are....

The National Portrait Gallery today announced finalists for the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize, a national new $75,000 prize for Australian portrait painting, and released selected images from the final prize pool for the popular National Photography Portrait Prize.

Both exhibitions will open at the NPG in March, offering an insight into the most compelling contemporary photographic and painting portraiture from across Australia.  

The Darling Portrait Prize

Announced in 2019, and offering a most generous cash prize of $75,000, the Darling Portrait Prize is a new annual painting prize, honouring the legacy of Mr L Gordon Darling AC CMG (1921-2015), who was instrumental in establishing the National Portrait Gallery.  

With a Judging panel that includes leading Australian arts figures including Professor Denise Ferris (Head of the ANU School of Art & Design), Tony Elwood AM (Director of the National Gallery of Victoria) and National Portrait Gallery Director Karen Quinlan AM, the Darling Portrait Prize aspires to be one of the most prestigious prizes of its kind in Australia. 

Finalists for the Darling Portrait Prize are:

Andrea Sinclair, Anna Minardo, Anne Middleton, Anthea da Silva, Ben Bickley, Betina Fauvel‑Ogden, Caroline Zilinsky, Colleen Stapleton, Dagmar Cyrulla, Dalu Zhao, David Darcy, Dee Smart, Denis O'Connor, Elizabeth Barden, Gene Hart‑Smith, Jana Vodesil‑Baruffi, John Skillington, Jordan Richardson, Kate Beynon, Kathrin Longhurst, Kirsty Neilson, Liam Nunan, Megan Hales, Naomi Lawler, Narelle Zeller, Natasha Bieniek, Nick Kohler, Paul Newton, Sally Robinson, Sean Burton, Sean Hutton, Shirley Purdie, Sibone Heary, Todd Simpson, Tom Farrell, Vincent Fantauzzo, Warren Crossett, Wendy Sharpe, Yvonne East and Zoe Young.

In making the selection, judges noted the exceptional quality of entries from some of Australia’s most established artists.  “Our aim is to make The Darling Prize one of the most significant portraiture events in Australia, and this vibrant exhibition shows just how vital the artform is, as a mode of expression for artists, and one that continues to capture and define the people, moments and emotions of our time,” NPG Director Karen Quinlan said.  

The inaugural Darling Portrait Prize winner will be announced on 5th March and the exhibition opens 6 March.  The popular Art Handlers Prize will be announced during the exhibition’s installation.   

National Photographic Portrait Prize 

One of the highlights of the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition calendar, the National Photographic Portrait Prize, offers over $50,000 in prize money for categories including the Winner, Highly Commended, the Art Handlers Award and the ever-popular People’s Choice Award.  Now in its 13th year, the NPPP offers audiences an insight into some of Australia’s best amateur, hobby and professional portrait photographers.  Details of the Prizes and the 48 finalists are online.

Judge Penny Grist said:  “The extraordinary quality and breadth of the entries to the 2020 prize has allowed us to make a selection for the exhibition that is both timeless and current.  The works combine compelling image-making with powerful storytelling and many push the boundaires of photographic portraiture.”

Exhibition opens 6 March, Art Handlers Prize announced 10 March, and overall winners announced 13 March

NPG Director Karen Quinlan said, “The Photographic Portrait Prize (the NPPP) is one of our most popular exhibitions, offering equal billing for amateur and professional photographers and an incredible opportunity for entrants to not only win prizes including the latest photographic equipment from Canon, but to have their work shown in this great national cultural institution.  

“2020 will be a landmark year for portraiture as we also launch the inaugural Darling Prize for portrait paintings, with an exceptionally generous first prize of $75,000.  The exhibition is a most fitting legacy for our founding patrons Gordon and Marilyn Darling, with some exceptional entries from established and emerging Australian painters.  

“We cannot wait to open our doors for the National Portrait Prizes, where three of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition spaces will be filled with new works of portraiture, a testimony to the artforms’ continuing importance and relevance in the Australian arts landscape,” Ms Quinlan said.  

For further media information and images for both prizes:

Katrina Hall

© National Portrait Gallery 2024
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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