Thea Anamara Perkins wins the 2023 La Prairie Art Award


Congratulations to Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist Thea Anamara Perkins, who has won the  2023 La Prairie Art Award for a series of portraits representing three generations of her family members.

Now in its second year, the relatively new prize is a partnership between Swiss skincare brand La Prairie and the Art Gallery of NSW. It champions Australian women artists through an international artist residency and the development of new work, which is acquired by the AGNSW for its collection.

Perkins is known for her striking yet gentle portraits of First Nations people and her paintings of Country. As she explains in a recent interview we published with the artist, she draws from her family archive of photographs to create portraits that are stunningly poignant, and also acts of First Nations resistance. “For me, portraiture is something that started with my family archives and being drawn to certain images and feeling a compulsion to paint them,” she explains. “It was this process that formed my understanding about the complexity of painting these images.”

The artist won the 2023 La Prairie Art Award with four portraits representing three generations of her family members: a portrait of her sister surrounded by family at the moment candles are being lit on her birthday cake; a Bondi Beach scene of her grandfather, mother and uncle from the late 1960s; Thea’s mother and grandfather at his university graduation ceremony; and a portrait of her grandfather and aunt at Telegraph Station in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, a site of historical significance to the family.

Of winning the award, Perkins said of her portraits, “My work delves into my family archives of photographs, and through the painting process, communicates the essence of these images. Fleeting, yet suspended in time, they are storied, and coloured by my own emotions and memories. They seek to express the love and strength in First Nations families and situate these instances of joy and belonging, or ‘glimmers’ into our collective imagination.”

As part of the international artist residency, Perkins will travel to Switzerland to attend the Art Basel international art fair in June.

News Words by Art Guide Australia