We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

That’s love in any language

For their kindness, resilience, impressive skills and the way they embrace life, mothers and grandmothers are inspiring subjects for these remarkably observant and thoughtful portraits from Young Archie 2023.

Emily Spencer (age 5) Mummy with a bandage

Emily Spencer 'Mummy with a bandage' 2023 - 5-8 Young Archies finalist

Emily Spencer Mummy with a bandage

Emily Spencer Mummy with a bandage

This is my mummy. She got a mole cut out and the doctor put a bandage on it. It didn’t hurt that much.

Henry Semeniuk Nicholls (age 9) I love Mumma

Henry Semeniuk Nicholls 'I love Mumma' 2023 - 9-12 Young Archies finalist

Henry Semeniuk Nicholls I love Mumma

Henry Semeniuk Nicholls I love Mumma

I have chosen to paint my mum at the beach with a setting sun. I painted her because she is the most special person to me in my family. I painted a sunset because I think those colours suit her well and because I love going to the beach and feeling the sand in my toes.

Luella Slaughter (age 9) Mummy on a deadline

Luella Slaughter 'Mummy on a deadline' 2023 - 9-12 Young Archies finalist

Luella Slaughter Mummy on a deadline

Luella Slaughter Mummy on a deadline

I painted my mum the day she handed in her finished book to her publisher. It was a special moment. I wanted to draw her tired and happy at the same time. And because I love her so very much. And I was proud of her.

Ka Yin Lau (age 11) Mum’s adventure at Wilsons Prom

My family and I went to Wilsons Promontory for a fun holiday. I chose to create this picture of my mum while bushwalking because it captured the beautiful background – green trees, hills, rocks and golden sand. She always encourages me to go to the outback and enjoy the beautiful scenery. In this picture, my mum is so happy and that moment is very important to me. I tried hard to get her features right. My mum inspired me to start doing art and use different mediums, and I share my paintings with my family and friends.

Izzi Roma (age 11) Green, purple, gold

Izzi Roma 'Green, purple, gold' 2023 - 9-12 Young Archies finalist

This is a portrait of my mum. She is an extremely resilient, respectful and kind person – one of the greatest mums to ever live on Earth. My mum is an excellent multi-tasker – a skill she uses when restoring art and in everything else she does. I chose the title of this piece because those are the colours she represents to me: green for her eyes, purple for her personality, and gold for her value.

Hannah Brown (age 17) Stitches and loops

Hannah Brown 'Stitches and loops' 2023 - 16-18 Young Archies finalist

Hannah Brown Stitches and loops

Hannah Brown Stitches and loops

I have selected my mum as my portrait subject. Mum has been influential in the development of my skills and interests, as she taught me how to knit; it eventually became a shared interest and pastime. I chose a low angle, placing the hands as the focal point of the image, while capturing the sense of delicacy and care she puts into each of her works. Through this drawing, I have aimed to show Mum’s passion and love for knitting, which she has similarly fostered in me.

Luffy Song (age 7) My dear grandma

Luffy Song 'My dear grandma' 2023 - 5-8 Young Archies finalist

Luffy Song My dear grandma

Luffy Song My dear grandma

I have chosen to depict my grandma in my portrait. She is 61 years old now. She is a very nice lady and the one who takes care of the whole family. I love her so much.

Daniel Lee (age 9) My grandma

Daniel Lee 'My grandma' 2023 - 9-12 Young Archies finalist

Daniel Lee My grandma

Daniel Lee My grandma

This is a picture of my grandma in her kitchen. I call her Lao Lao, which means ‘maternal grandmother’ in Chinese. Whenever I think of her, I think about all the yummy food that she has cooked for me. She makes lots of dumplings because that way I get to eat lots of veggies. She also teaches me how to fold dumplings. When she makes the dough for the dumpling wrappers, I like to grab some and play with it. Even though she is almost 80 years old, she still works hard and cooks for our family. I love my lao lao.

Eva Li (age 11) Nai Nai’s magic

This artwork is a special dedication to my fantastic grandmother. My nai nai is the best cook my family knows, and it is her passion. Her food is magical. My bond with Nai Nai is something I will cherish forever. From the day my older brother was born, my grandparents were the ones who helped my parents to raise us. I remember her cooking every day after childcare, and I could always rely on my grandma’s food when I was feeling down. I will always love her.

Mimi Callan (age 13) My popo

Mimi Callen 'My  popo' 2023 - 13-15 Young Archies finalist

Mimi Callan My popo

Mimi Callan My popo

My popo (‘grandma’ in Chinese) migrated from Malaysia to Australia 40 years ago so her children could have a better education. Although she was very rich in Malaysia, she was very poor in Australia and struggled a lot. She gave up her career as a lawyer and had to be a housewife with four kids. Life in Australia was hard, and she faced a lot of racism. As a result, she got chronic depression. She is sometimes sad, but she is also very strong. She’s very wise and resilient, and I look up to her.

Yeeun Seo (age 14) A familiar stranger

Yeeun Seo 'A familiar stranger' 2023 - 13-15 Young Archies finalist

This portrait is dedicated to my grandmother. Most of my family lives in Korea, so I have never had a whole conversation with her face to face, instead just video-calling her. Like many first-generations, I’ve felt detached from my culture, especially growing up in a Western society. Over time, I have lost my fluency in speaking Korean, creating a language barrier between me and my family, something I deeply regret. However, art has no language. It can be seen and understood by everyone, regardless of what language they speak. With this portrait, I hope to soon bridge those gaps.

Eleanor Cameron (age 17) Princess Carmie

Eleanor Cameron 'Princess Carmie' 2023 - 16-18 Young Archies finalist

Eleanor Cameron Princess Carmie

Eleanor Cameron Princess Carmie

This is a portrait of my nana Carmel, aka Princess Carmie. I’m 17, yet I feel suffocated by the anxiety around who I want to be in life. At times like this, I look up to my nana. Looking at her, you wouldn’t know she is nearly 90, as she’s absolutely larger than life. She wears sparkly shirts and leather jackets, and loves a chat. Her hair and make-up are perfect as she struts (albeit slowly) into the room with the brightest smile. Looking at her, I remember that life is a gift and I have nothing to worry about.

Mother’s Day is Sunday 14 May 2023. Finalists in Young Archie 2023 are on display near the entrance to the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2023 until 3 September 2023, and online.