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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.

Darling Portrait Prize judges announced

26 August 2019

Professor Denise Ferris, Tony Ellwood AM and Karen Quinlan AM
Professor Denise Ferris, Tony Ellwood AM and Karen Quinlan AM

The National Portrait Gallery is excited to announce the judging panel for the prestigious inaugural Darling Portrait Prize with first place prize valued at $75,000.

The Darling Portrait Prize will be presented in March 2020 at the Gallery, where one painter will be named winner and take home the cash prize.

Professor Denise Ferris is Head of the ANU School of Art & Design, an educator and an art practitioner. She is the Chair of the Australian Council of Universities of Art and Design the peak body representing over thirty Australian universities.

Her photographs are in Australian public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the ACT Legislative Assembly Art Collection and Canberra Museum and Gallery, as well as international collections, District Six Museum Cape Town, Haldenstein, Switzerland and Nara City, Japan.

Tony Ellwood AM is a leading figure in the Australian arts sector and Director of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). He began his career as an Aboriginal Art Coordinator, working at Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Kununurra, then worked as a Curator at the NGV, specialising in major international curatorial projects. He was Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery, Deputy Director of International Art at the NGV and Director of the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art prior to returning to the NGV as Director in August 2012.

The third judge for the Darling Portrait Prize, announced earlier, is National Portrait Gallery Director Karen Quinlan AM, appointed to the role in late 2018. She commenced her curatorial career in 1994 at National Gallery of Victoria, becoming the Curator of Bendigo Art Gallery in 1996, and it’s Director from 2000 – 2018.

She drove a number of high profile exhibitions that were exhibited for the first time in regional Victoria achieving unprecedented economic benefits for the region with record attendances from exhibitions.

“We are delighted to welcome to the home of portraiture two highly experienced, eminently qualified professionals in the art world to undertake the difficult task of naming a single winner early next year,” said Karen Quinlan.

“Tony Ellwood brings with him experience derived from a life time of curatorial and directorial work in the Australian art world, and Professor Denise Ferris brings her lengthy and prestigious experience as an educator and practitioner to the role.”

Entries to the Darling Portrait Prize are open until October 1.

Prize entrants must be an Australian citizen or resident, over the age of 18. Artists may 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.

For a full list of terms and conditions, visit the Gallery’s website.

The Darling Portrait Prize Key Dates

- Painting to be completed on or after 1 September 2018

- Entries opened 1 May 2019

- Entries close 9.00 am AEST, Tuesday 1 October 2019 (not as previously advertised)

- Finalists announced mid-December 2019

- The Darling Portrait Prize exhibition on show at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from March 2020

Related information

Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva
Elizabeth, 2019 Anthea da Silva

Darling Portrait Prize

Previous exhibition, 2020

The Darling Prize is a new annual prize for Australian portrait painters, painting Australian sitters. The winner receives a cash prize of $75,000.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.