AGNSW prizes Jude Rae Inside out, from Archibald Prize 2021
How many windows can you see in this portrait?
There could be more windows than you think! Jude Rae has painted herself reflected in her window so we get a glimpse of the inside of her home and studio as well as the view outside. Notice all the vertical and horizontal lines created by the shapes of the buildings and how the floorboards lead your eyes into the room.
What other features of Jude’s neighbourhood can you see in the pane of glass? Why might some areas be painted red?
AGNSW prizes Marikit Santiago Filipiniana (self-portrait in collaboration with Maella Santiago Pearl), from Archibald Prize 2021
Have you ever made an artwork with someone else?
Marikit Santiago likes to create art with her three children. She often lets them paint onto her artworks. Can you tell which parts of this portrait were painted by Marikit’s daughter Maella? Marikit has painted herself twice, overlapping her two poses with a section that looks almost like an X-ray image. Can you see how the lace pattern cleverly follows the shape of both poses?
What things from nature do you recognise in the background?
AGNSW prizes Jonathan Dalton Ramesh and the artist Ramesh, from Archibald Prize 2021
Notice the detail in this large portrait.
Every pattern, crease, fold and feature is painted with realistic detail in this double portrait of artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran. Jonathan Dalton has painted Ramesh as if he is protectively holding the hand of his ‘inner artist’ – another side of his personality shown here holding the camera. Imagine if you could conjure up another version of yourself.
What adventures would you have?
AGNSW prizes Matthew Clarke Del Kathryn Barton is a good listener, from Archibald Prize 2021
Describe all the colours in this portrait of artist Del Kathryn Barton.
Matthew Clarke has used bold blocks of colour and strong black outlines to paint Del. Notice how the thick strip of purple behind Del helps to make the bright pink of her face stand out. The rectangles and lines in the background contrast with the more freely painted pattern on Del’s clothing and the rounded shapes of her body, head and hair.
Matthew says he let his feelings pour out and into this painting. If you were to create an artwork to express your feelings, what would you draw or paint?
AGNSW prizes Kathrin Longhurst Kate, from Archibald Prize 2021
Look closely at the hands in this portrait of singer Kate Ceberano.
Kate’s hands are full of expression, poised as if they are about to move and gesture. Her rings and nails are painted with intricate detail, so Kate feels very much alive as she stares down at us. Notice the delicate brushmarks that artist Kathrin Longhurst has used to paint the strands of Kate’s hair, her eyebrows and eyelashes. The simple background helps focus our attention on Kate.
Where do you think she could be?
AGNSW prizes Dapeng Liu A mind–body dualism portrait of Joanna Capon, from Archibald Prize 2021
Look closely at the outlines of these two versions of Joanna Capon. Are they the same?
The portrait on the left is painted as if it is Joanna’s silhouette or shadow. It is filled with a peaceful landscape of undulating rocks and mountains. Notice how the patterns on Joanna’s top also rise and fall like the contours of the landscape. How would you describe Joanna’s expression? Spot the colours reflected in both versions of Joanna.
How many more double portraits can you find in the exhibition?
AGNSW prizes Julianne Ross Allcorn I listen and they tell me the bush news, from Archibald Prize 2021
Do you have a special place you feel deeply connected too?
Julianne Ross Allcorn loves the Australian bush. She has painted herself surrounded by animals and plants. Look at Julianne’s face. How do you think she is feeling? The patterns and colours of her clothing merge with the leaves and flowers, so she is enveloped by nature. The layers of paint reveal more and more detail the closer you look.
How many flying creatures can you spot hidden in the foliage?
AGNSW prizes Ann Cape The odd little bird (a portrait of Sam, Cam and Penguin Bloom), from Archibald Prize 2021
Have you seen the movie Penguin Bloom, or read the book?
Artist Ann Cape was fascinated by the story of the adopted magpie, Penguin, that helped Sam recover from a serious accident. Penguin takes centre stage on Sam’s lap as her husband Cameron leans in towards her. Different shades of blue are painted in expressive brush strokes. They contrast with the white of Sam’s shirt, which helps Penguin stand out. Both Sam and Cameron stare out at us from the canvas as their mouths appear to curl into a friendly smile.
Move around the room. Do their eyes follow you?
AGNSW prizes Joan Ross Joan as a colonial woman looking at the future, from Archibald Prize 2021
What are you passionate about?
Artist Joan Ross is passionate about nature. She creates art that makes us think about our impact on wildlife and the environment. Joan has portrayed herself as if she is a woman from long ago with curled ringlets in her hair. She hugs a giant headless bird to warn us that we need to change our behaviour and respect nature before more birds and animals become extinct. Look closely at the detail and textures of the feathers.
What do you think the head of this bird looked like?
AGNSW prizes Eunice Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu Me and my sisters, from Archibald Prize 2021
Who are the special people in your life?
For Eunice Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu, her sisters are special. She sees herself as being one and the same as her two sisters, doing and sharing everything together. Like stars, they are always together as family is important within Yolŋu culture. The sisters often collected oysters from a mangrove swamp. Look at the textures and patterns that cover the bark surface.
What activities do you and the special people in your life like to do together?
AGNSW prizes James Powditch Kerry O’Brien – all along the watch tower, from Archibald Prize 2021
Describe what you can see in this portrait.
James Powditch has combined newspaper headlines and text in this double portrait to emphasise Kerry O’Brien’s role as a journalist. Look at Kerry’s two expressions. Do his eyes give you a clue to how he might be feeling? Do any of the newspaper headlines suit his moods? Look at the shapes created by the black area of the portrait. Step back from the artwork, half close your eyes and focus on the black.
Does another shape start to appear? What can you see?
AGNSW prizes Julia Ciccarone The sea within, from Archibald Prize 2021
Imagine the sounds you would hear if you could step into this portrait.
Look at the ocean and imagine it moving and swelling with the patterns of the foam constantly changing. How does it make you feel? Now look at Julia Ciccarone, fast asleep with her head on a suitcase. What is she holding in her hand? Where could she be? Do you think she is dreaming about the ocean?
What might happen next?