Anthea da Silva wins inaugural Darling Portrait Prize


The Darling Portrait Prize is a new award for portrait paintings of Australians, by Australians. Anthea da Silva has taken out the inaugural $75,000 prize with her portrait of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, founder of the Australian Dance Theatre.

The prize was initiated to honour the legacy of Mr L Gordon Darling AC CMG (1921-2015), who was a key figure in establishing the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, where the award is held.

This first Darling Portrait Prize was judged by Head of the ANU School of Art and Design professor Denise Ferris; director of the NGV Tony Ellwood AM; and Karen Quinlan AM, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

In a joint statement the judges said, “Anthea da Silva’s Elizabeth, 2019, is a gentle, beguiling portrait that reveals the fragile, fluid nature of the human body. Here is a woman who has spent her life moving and while she is captured here sitting, she looks set to leap. We were struck by the deliberate power of the seemingly unfinished elements of the work because, like Elizabeth, the complete picture is yet to be filled in – there is much yet for her to do.”

Da Silva, who is based in Griffith, NSW, said of her wining work, “I am inspired by Elizabeth’s constant reinvention as a dancer, choreographer, actor, director and environmental activist. Here, she is momentarily resting her feet at Mirramu Creative Arts Centre, near Bungendore, preparing for her next adventure.”

The judges also highly commended Sibone Heary’s self-portrait,  Sean Hutton’s portrait of fellow artist Tamara Dean, and David Darcy’s painting of octogenarian farmer Wendy Bowman. Darcy has also won the $10,000 people’s choice prize

Works by all 40 finalists in the Darling Portrait Prize are on show at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia until  26 July, alongside finalists in the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Please note that National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPG) is open. With public safety in mind, physical distancing, limits to the number of people in the gallery and hygiene measures will be in place.

The Darling Portrait Prize
National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPG)
6 March – 26 July

News Words by Art Guide Australia